Twitter is adding a "Happening Now" feature that will group tweets by event, the company announced today.
The feature, which will start with sports games, is yet another way the company is seeking to highlight information on its platform outside of the traditional follow model.
A Twitter algorithm will chose which events to highlight, targeting them to individual users and displaying them at the tops of their timelines. When you click on an event, it will take you into a dedicated timeline for that event, where Twitter will highlight tweets about it.
Under the leadership of CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter has been set on making the product easier to use for new and casual users. Highlighting the best of its platform — via products like Happening now, Moments, topic-based tweets in its Explore tab, and more — gives these users a chance to get value out of Twitter without having to build lists of people to follow in their timelines.
With Happening Now, a casual Twitter user who is a Giants fan can use the app to follow the latest Tweets about the Giants game, without having to find the dozens of sportswriters and legions of dispersed fans who may be tweeting about the game.
The tweets are sorted algorithmically. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the company's prior work sorting tweets underneath live video on Twitter has helped it build the capabilities to sort tweets for live events.
"There’s so much happening on Twitter all the time, but it could be easier to find events you are interested in, and the conversation around those events, in the moment," the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "If we know you are a Giants fan, we can guess you’d love to see the conversation specifically around a game. All this content already exists on Twitter – with Happening Now, we’re collecting it and making it simpler for you to find it in one place."
Happening Now will eventually highlight tweets about live video, TV, and breaking news as well, the spokesperson said.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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