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Twitter is having one of those moments, but is it trying a little too hard to be popular?


By Dom Burch, managing director

December 16, 2015 | 5 min read

We've all been there.

twitter Moments

Is Twitter trying too hard with Moments?

For a brief moment in time you're the most popular kid on the street (I was seven and was the first person at my school to own a Millennium Falcon – as revealed in yesterday's blog).

Then someone else moves in down the road who can do judo and has an older brother who drives an Escort XR3i. True story.


As reported by The Drum, Twitter has launched Moments, its latest attempt to be cool to the UK.

Initially released in October for US users, the new feature is designed to make it easier to find the best posts on the day's stories.

A team of handpicked curators, a group of former hacks led by Joanna Geary (ex-Guardian digital development editor), will pull together interesting tweets on single subjects – which you can then read, even if you don't follow the people tweeting them. Sound familiar?

Moments will then appear in a special 'lightning' tab next to your notifications rather than on your timeline and will be divided into sections including news, sports and entertainment.

Buzzfeed, Sky News, Vice Media are among its launch media partners in the UK, as is the Economist.

Tom Standage, deputy editor and head of digital strategy for the Economist, told The Drum that the move very closely aligns with their mission to provide 'the antidote to information overload, by distilling the news into a summary you can actually finish.'

Fair enough. Tom is a hero of mine, so I won't hear a bad word said about him.

But will it work?

In spite of various iterations to the platform over the years, namely...

Twitter lists.

Trending topics.

Advanced search.

Shortening links.

Promoted posts.

Sponsored posts.


@replies linking to original tweets.

Favourite stars becoming like hearts.

... fundamentally not much has changed.

The only real standout innovation was when visual images loaded automatically.

But frankly it would have died without that update.

I still use Twitter more or less the same way I did at 7.55pm on 12 Jan 2009 when I first joined the platform, begrudgingly I might add.

'announcing my belated arrival on Twitter. Now I'm here I'll soon get the hang of summarising what I want to say in less than 160 characters'

7:55 PM - 12 Jan 2009

[My original @domburch account transferred to become @asdafoundation following a career break in case you're wondering.]

I got the hang of it eventually. And how to summarise my thoughts in 140 characters not 160.

Twitter is remaining coy about how brands can get involved.

And by involved I obviously mean pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of advertising to an audience of mildly engaged users on a yet unproven product (Moments) on a platform that is struggling to grow.

But let's start the bidding at $1m anyway shall we?

Now I know it is a bit rich coming from someone who makes a living working for the biggest company in the world, but it is a shame that Twitter needs to grow to be considered a worthwhile entity.

I love it for what it is. It isn't cool. I'm OK with that. Neither am I.

As a case in point, when I was out with my team on Friday, most of whom weren't born when I left school, I had one of those moments.

Somehow we got into a conversation about how old I looked.

Rosie, 22, started by saying, well, you're not as old as my parents, so less than 50...

Like a dagger into my midlife crisis-ravaged heart, I realised in that moment that regardless of how I see myself (young at heart, still got it), others see me for what I really am.

A middle aged bloke who needs to drink water in between shots of Sambuca otherwise I may end up slumped in a corner.

I'm 41.

Apparently I dance like a dad.

Well you know what, that's OK. I am a dad.

In fact, I'm old enough to be Rosie's dad.

Anyway, I digress. I may be proven wrong, but Twitter in my view needs to remember who it really is and give up trying to be cool like Snapchat or Flipagram.

At some point we all have to accept we've had our moment, it's time to step aside and let the new kids on the block have theirs too.

Follow Dom on Twitter @domburch

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