Twitter needs a moment


In official coverage, Twitter announced that it’s expanding its Moments feature to “influencers, partners, brands… and in the coming months, everyone.

Examples shared in the blog post range from the newsworthy (Gymnast Simone Biles at #Rio2016) to activist (deray mckesson’s archive of Ferguson 2014) to the blatantly promotional (this Bud’s for you).

So kind of like Instagram’s new stories, but with fewer captions written on the pictures and more of a focus on unfolding events. To be fair, Moments have been around since 2015,  but Instagram wasn’t interested in stories till people liked them on Snapchat.

Too little, too late?
Coverage of Twitter isn’t focused on its ability to cover then news -- it’s been focused on Twitter’s reputation as one of the least friendly places online (links mostly sfw, but the topics gets…icky). Abuse has been a long-standing problem for Twitter, and it has an impact. People routinely use nicknames for a certain Presidential candidate to avoid drawing the attention of his followers, both human and bot. Microsoft had to pull an AI chatbot off the platform within 24 hours because it was learning abusive things.

Recently, Twitter did take action. Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended for his role in encouraging abuse against actress Leslie Jones. Still, Twitter made sure to point out that the ban was because Yiannopoulos didn’t follow the terms of service, not due to anything he said.

Still, Yiannopoulos is gone, and Jones is doing some glorious live tweeting the Olympics.

Where to go from here?
Twitter has a mess on its hands. There’s high turnover with company leaders, a shrinking user base,  and the nasty reputation. Still, people don’t seem ready to give up on its potential. Charlie Warzel of Buzzfeed and Nausicaa Renner at the Colombia Journal Review both offer up insightful long reads about how Twitter found itself here and what it can do to turn things around.

The question is will things be turned around, or will the Fail Whale land forever?

About the author:
Tara Saylor is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.