Twitter for Dummies – The New News Digest

moments_1Curating the news, 140 characters at a time. How much can we really learn?

As more of our news is consumed on social networks and social media platforms become news rooms, Twitter unveils a new product called “Moments” that aims to create news stories by curating tweets around a particular topic.

“Twitter has always been a place to find out what’s going on in the world, with a little help from the crowd. The catch is that you have to know the right people to follow if you want to track the path of a hurricane or question this year’s selection of Emmy winners,” writes Justin Ellis in Neiman Labs.

“Twitter hopes to make the platform more welcoming to newcomers with the launch of ‘Moments’ on Tuesday. It offers curated tweets tied to news and other events. Previously known as ‘Project Lightning,’ [we wrote about that this spring] the new feature debuts in the latest app update with its own dedicated tab and a snazzy lightning bolt button,” Ellis notes.

Experienced Twitter users are probably already doing something similar by following the “right” people on the “right” topics, with on-the-ground reports that can’t be matched for immediacy by lumbering news organizations.

“Moments are for those users who have not had time yet to invest in creating their perfect home timeline,” Twitter’s Andrew Fitzgerald, head of the curation team for Moments, told Ellis.

The project has buy-in from some high-powered news names too, like Cory Haik at The Washington Post, who is working on what she terms “deliberate small-screen storytelling.”

As Ellis notes, newsrooms already include tweets on particular subjects in their long-form stories. This project looks to forgo the need for the long form and offer a “beginning, middle and end and highlight the best tweets that are representative of a conversation,” explained Fitzgerald.

It might work to get more users on Twitter, but that’s hard to say. It will, we believe, continue the disruption of traditional long-form journalism on digital platforms. Will it increase the likelihood that vast numbers of readers will consider themselves “well-informed” on critical topics 140 characters at a time? This will be interesting to watch.