The future looks bright, for now, as Twitter has announced that it will allow users to temporarily follow tweets related to Rio Olympics 2016 in Brazil, for 17 consecutive days (and, we assume, nights as well).
That is certainly a positive sign considering that just a week ago the US Olympics Committee made some horrendous demands.
In a letter received by ESPN, USOC said that it will be disallowing non sponsor entities to tweet about Olympics on Twitter (in order to stop companies, that didn’t pay up to become sponsors, from gaining any boost in sales or publicity from the media coverage of Olympics 2016), a social media platform, for the duration of the Olympics.
Twitter allows users to post information on its website under 140 characters. Users can choose to post pictures and short videos in order to get their message across either to their fans or to their heroes.
Now Twitter has announced that it will commence a feature test that will last about 17 days where the company will organize tweets related to the Olympics in Rio and place them into people’s timelines.
Of course, Twitter users will have to opt-in the process in order to receive tweets related to their favorite athlete or team (or sport).
It is highly likely that Twitter is trying to evolve itself away from it Moments feature as this experiment seems to be grander in scale.
Twitter Moments allowed users to search for premium content on Twitter and then temporarily follow their topic of interest. Twitter Moments also highlighted the most discussed stories on the internet such as current events, entertainment news, and business news.
But apparently, Twitter isn’t content with providing fascinating news stories to its users. Now, the company has tried to take it up a notch by providing relevant big news at the precise moments when the news happens in the real world.
Twitter seems to have appreciated the feedback it has received from its core base of users and is likely to invest more energy into the new feature.
Events like Brexit and this month’s political conventions in the United States of America (such as DNC and RNC events) gave Twitter the opportunity to inform its users about the latest happenings around the world and the users rewarded Twitter for its hard work with views and comments. Not to mention tweets and pinned tweets.
Twitter’s Director of Curation Andrew Fitzgerald told BuzzFeed News in an interview that Twitter would be observing most events in Olympics very closely because they are very excited about their new project that is directly involved with the sporting spectacle that is the Olympics.
He also explained that Twitter has explored the idea of a follow feature that lasts a little longer than its previous temporary follow feature.
The Director of Curation stated that Twitter, as a company, is always looking for more opportunities to experiment its ideas on.
Readers might be asking, why exactly is the temporary follow feature from Twitter so useful or important?
Well, it is important because it gives media influencers and authority figures a platform to raise their voice and express their opinion. Media personalities belonging to industries such as journalism, news, and entertainment all benefit from a feature such as a temporary follow because it allows them to insert high-quality tweets in their timelines for everyone else to view and comment on.
There are also people who are present on the spot (at events like Olympics) that require real-time coverage and a feature like Twitter Moments allows them to do their job in real time. But now, as is evident, Twitter wants to move forward with its Moments feature.
As a result of the temporary follow feature, Twitter users get rewarded with news as the events unfold and can basically follow any event live from the comfort of their homes or offices.
Features like Twitter temporary follow, also allows users to work a lot less in searching for people (and companies) whom they would like to follow but haven’t followed them yet. As of this moment, you don’t need to spend hours on the internet trying to figure out which media sources you should follow in order to stay abreast of all the latest happening around the world.
Twitter temporary follow feature does that work for you without you even asking for it.
The only real problem, among many superfluous problems, that Twitter temporary follow feature has is that it isn’t easily accessible at all.
There is very little chance that a new Twitter user would be able to find this feature without wasting a considerable amount of time. The feature is covered by layers and layers of options in Twitter’s user interface.
Obviously, an event as big as Olympics gives this feature plenty of lift in terms of its visibility and thrust to get noticed by Twitter users without much hardship.
However, there is one other news most Twitter users won’t like one bit. Twitter isn’t launching the temporary follow feature worldwide.
In the initial phase, only nine markets will be able to avail Twitter’s temporary follow feature which include United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Brazil, and Canada.
The rest will have to use the same old boring Twitter service with no temporary follow feature.
The curated tweets that will be embedded would be tailor made to its relevant market.
So for example, the people of Japan will get Japan’s Olympic squad related tweets from the Olympic events in Japanese and Canadians will see tweets that are related to the Canadian team that is competing in the Olympics in English.
If you thought that this would prove to be a humongous task even for an organization like Twitter, then you were right as Twitter has stated that the company will be hiring additional people in order to lay a solid foundation for this feature.
Twitter also be able to offer a short version of the temporary feature. That shorter follow feature will provide news that is related to certain specific events like basketball or rowing.
If we can take a step back just a little bit then we’ll quickly realize that Twitter introduced this feature in its infancy back when the company announced the Moments feature. Yes, the temporary follow feature was indeed introduced along with Moments. In fact, the temporary follow feature was included in Moments itself.
So no one should be surprised that the temporary follow feature has started its ascent around the same time as the product executives at Moments have left Twitter. Their departures certainly affected Moments in a negative way but on the flipside, it gave rise to the temporary follow feature on Twitter.
Head of product division Kevin Weil and product manager Madhu Muthukumar have stated that it still remains uncertain if the departures resulted in Moments taking the backseat to Twitter temporary follow feature.
As mentioned before, Twitter administrated the temporary follow feature for the protracted Brexit sessions, The Republican National Conventions along with The Democratic National Conventions and during the impeachment dealings in Brazil.
The temporary follow feature from Twitter as active and live for three consecutive days during those events.
Fitzgerald further explained that the temporary follow feature proved to be a highly valuable resource for users who wanted to stay updated on Brazil’s impeachment process.
He also said that the coverage Twitter temporary follow feature provided for those historic three days was crucial to the public of Brazil.
Media reports have speculated before that the bigwigs at Twitter have had long discussions about enabling users to follow not just influential users but also important topics and events.
Some experts have said that the Twitter temporary follow feature is the beginning of Twitter’s long-term vision how people receive news that is tailored made to their tastes.