Earlier this week, Twitter announced a transition for how users discover relevant in-app content. The previous iteration, Moments, will be removed and replaced with a new feature the social networking giant has called Explore.
Moments, which launched in 2015, was Twitter's attempt at resolving the "noise pollution" that plagues the platform's core function. The feed of tweets is typically not guided by an algorithm, unlike Facebook's News Feed, and that has historically limited user engagement and retention figures.
The feature aggregated content relevant to trending stories, or "moments," allowing users to view and consume short-form content in a more cohesive manner.
Now, Twitter aims to expand Moments (which was found to be rather ineffective after internal reviews) and revamp it into a more engaging and useful feature, Explore. It's already deployed to iOS and will reach the Android and desktop versions in the coming weeks.
Exploring Better Function
Explore has been user tested for a while with a small segment of users, but it received incredibly positive feedback because it made news content more accessible, as well as trending and popular topics.
The feature will enable users to view content by category and heavily feature live video, which it recently started integrating into the main app. (This integration has led to speculation that Twitter might be sunsetting Periscope, since the same fate befell Vine and the company sold off Fabric to Google.)
Featuring live video content in such an accessible location stands to be especially lucrative for Twitter given its streaming deal with the NFL and the potential for similar partnerships, provided the football one is validated naturally.
Looking at the user research, rolling out Explore is a smart move and a sign that things might be turning around. The company has been struggling quite a bit since going public: its user base has stalled around 300 million active users, monetization and profitability have proven more difficult than initially expected, and the company seems to use a revolving door for its leadership.
Retaining and attracting users is Twitter's primary goal, so it can set a higher price point for its advertising and data services, and Explore has promise for helping mitigate both of these long-standing issues for the platform.
Of course, only time will tell if Explore is the right move and if Twitter can actualize more revenue and user engagement from it. That said, the company has been making some tough, and often controversial, calls over the past six months and altering one of its core features couldn't have been easy to choose or execute.
Fingers crossed that Explore can help Twitter can climb out of its hole and come back from its descent.