Twitter’s ‘Moments’ Will Try to Tame the Chaos

Twitter’s ‘Moments’ Will Try to Tame the Chaos

Jack Dorsey’s future as chief executive of Twitter will ride on the answer to a single question: Can he persuade the world’s Facebook-addled masses to take a fresh look at the bewildering 140-character messaging service that he co-founded in 2006, a service that millions have already tried and abandoned?

He is apparently keen to act fast. A day after Twitter’s board appointed Mr. Dorsey as permanent chief executive, the company unveiled a long-awaited new feature aimed squarely at attracting people who now find Twitter too confusing to use. The feature, called Moments, attempts to transform Twitter’s chaotic timeline into a series of narratives that are easily navigated by people who aren’t indoctrinated into the service’s strange rituals.

When you open Twitter on your phone or on the web, you will now see a new Moments section alongside the standard timeline. Tap it and you’ll be taken to a half-dozen or so headlines pointing to the big events currently being discussed on Twitter, like “Missing ship believed sunk” or “Clinton unveils guns proposal.” Tap again on one of these headlines and you will open that “moment,” which unfolds as a story told full-screen on a phone in a selection of tweets that have been arranged by a team of editors working for Twitter.

A few news and entertainment partners — including The New York Times, BuzzFeed and Major League Baseball — have also been given tools to create Moments. While each Moment can be shared and viewed by anyone using the service, the Moments tab — which lists several daily Moments — is currently available only to users in the United States. In time, the Moments tab will be rolled out beyond the United States, and eventually, the company says, all Twitter users can build the new tweet-based stories.

Moments has been in gestation for nearly a year under the code name Project Lightning. The feature has been so thoroughly hyped by Twitter that when it rolls out on Tuesday, it is likely to look and feel a little less momentous than the save-the-company breakthrough that many observers may have been anticipating.

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