Once upon a time, Twitter Moments was a closely guarded fortress surrounded by moats of publishers vying to get a spot on the throne. The feature, which aims to be "the best of Twitter in an instant," was only available to Twitter employees and certain publishing partners.
But that changed today when Twitter announced Moments is now open for all users to create their own masterpieces.
Previously, Moments was mostly a way for news publishers to showcase many tweets in short succession (think Storify, but within the Twitter website's ecosystem itself). Categorized into sections like Entertainment, Fun, Sports and hyper-topical sections like Election 2016 or NFL, social media editors around the world painstakingly created Moments surrounding trending topics.
Now that the feature is available to all users, you'll be able to go to your profile and create a new Moment. Then you can search for any relevant tweets you want to include. Moments supports GIFs, Vines, static images and, of course, videos. Add them to your Moment, click Publish and you're good to go.
Twitter even created its own Moment and snappy video to explain how to use the new service:
For everyone who wants to make a Moment – starting today you can! Creators everywhere can now tell stories with Tweets. pic.twitter.com/ZJtNBoTPWf
— Twitter (@twitter) September 28, 2016
The new feature could be an easy way to collect your favorite tweets during an awards show, keep track of all the tweets that inspire you (a la Dwayne Johnson's Twitter account) or perhaps create a slideshow/photo album of your cat.
You can see the effect of Twitter Moments in stories like DeRay Mckesson's "Birth of a Movement," created in response to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and this Moment from Allure magazine in which the publisher showcases something its readers don't normally get to see.
For brands and other publishers, much may not change. Perhaps there will be more competition to be featured in the "official" Moments Twitter highlights. Or perhaps it will free up Twitter Moments curators' time to focus more on quality control. It shouldn't be a threat to professionals who were already using Moments to curate their own stories and interact with users in a new way.
Interestingly, Twitter brought the feature over to the public in the middle of acquisition rumors. Will the new interactive way for everyone to use the platform show potential Twitter buyers how much users can get out of their experience? Will anyone take the time to carefully curate personal catalogs of tweets?
Twitter Moments could usher in a new era of hands-on social media. It has the DIY attitude that has already taken over Pinterest and Instagram. Twitter is now presenting a way to customize and show off experiences. It's the equivalent of showing someone the perfect episode of a TV show that will get them hooked on the whole series. Moments could become a way to introduce people to all of the different ways you can use Twitter. That might just be the saving grace the company needs.