Jack Dorsey's new Twitter takes shape with 'Moments' debut

After months in the dark, Twitter's mysterious (and perhaps long shot initiative) Project Lightning lights up under a new moniker: Moments.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Just one day after Jack Dorsey was named as permanent CEO (again), Twitter finally unveiled a long-awaited product that could shape the current chief executive's new era.

After months in the dark, Twitter's mysterious (and perhaps long shot initiative) Project Lightning is lighting up this week under a new moniker: Moments.

The new feature taps into a core essence of the micro-blogging platform as a whole being a social media destination for the most breaking of breaking news as well as a hub for chatting about major live events from the sporting green to the red carpet.

"We know finding these only-on-Twitter moments can be a challenge, especially if you haven't followed certain accounts," wrote Twitter product manager Madhu Muthukumar, in a blog post on Tuesday. "

"But it doesn't have to be," Muthukumar continued.

Moments takes the aforementioned ethos to a much more sophisticated level.

Under a new tab designated by a lightning bolt in a nod to the project codename, Moments will be managed by an dedicated curation team at Twitter, which will be feeding the dedicated news stream with content from a bevy of high-profile media brands.

Muthukumar demurred that Twitter has only enlisted a "small group of partners" initially, but the dozen or so already signed up are some of the most followed outlets on the platform. Among them are The New York Times, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, Bleacher Report and NASA.

Evoking the spirit of the now-defunct Discover tab still cherished by some users, Moments acts a topics section continuously updating as new tweets and information pour in. Users can also subscribe to specific Moments to keep tabs, so to speak, on updates in real-time.

Twitter is also playing up the interactive qualities on Moments, which will be visually heavy thanks to full-bleed images, GIFs, auto-playing digital videos and video snippets from Twitter's video-sharing mobile app Vine.

Moments presents a major pivot point for Twitter, for better or worse, after months of uncertainty and executive shuffles.

Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo had long been an active proponent of Twitter's presence during live events, from the World Cup to the Oscars to live-tweeting the latest show available for binge-watching on Netflix. It had been one of the reasons he was often credited for establishing Twitter's first revenue streams after years in the red and sole reliance on venture capital money.

But as user growth stagnated and earnings reports became sluggish, shareholders have been itching for a new product vision, inspiring many hot takes and think pieces in recent days as to why Dorsey -- also still CEO at Square -- was brought back to lead the company he co-founded.

Moments is launching today initially for users in the United States across Twitter's desktop, iPhone and Android channels. Twitter promised Moments functionality will be extended to users outside the U.S. in the coming weeks and months.

Screenshots via Twitter

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