Twitter is testing a way to provide more context for what’s trending by using the title of a matching Moment as a description, TechRadar has learned.
On Friday, we noticed the trend for basketball player Ben Simmons had a short blurb below it: “No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons fractures his foot.” Typically, the number of tweets about a trend or the handles of people talking about it are below, so the description stood out.
We asked Twitter about the blurb, and a spokesperson confirmed the social network is currently testing descriptions that come from Moments:
“We’re beginning to experiment with using Moments content to provide more context on trends,” the spokesperson said. “When a Moment is found to be relevant to a trend, we may use the title of the Moment in the trend’s description. As always, what’s trending will continue to be determined entirely by algorithm. More details about trends in our help center, and our Moments guidelines are here. ”
Trends, with context
In the test, which launched this week, these descriptions appear when there is a correlating Twitter Moment for a trend. The title of the Moment serves as the trend’s description.
When we clicked into the “Ben Simmons” trend, we saw the Moment created around the news he had fractured his foot at the top of the page. The Moments title matched the trend description:
The detailed trend description appeared on both twitter.com as well as in the Twitter iOS app. The test is small right now and it’s unclear if Twitter will ever make this a full-fledged feature.
It’s important to note that Twitter’s trends are determined entirely by algorithm, though there are some elements of personalization based on where you live and who you follow. Twitter’s Moments, meanwhile, are curated by a team of humans. As the spokesperson noted, trends will continue to be completely algorithm based, even if they have a Moments description.
A contextual blurb culled from Moments could be a smart move as it provides more information about what can otherwise seem like random words, phrases and hashtags. If users know why something is trending, they may be more inclined to engage by liking, retweeting and tweeting their own posts about it. It also gets them clicking into Moments more, which would be a win-win for the service.
Twitter has made increasing efforts to become more user-friendly, including recently allowing users to upload media attachments and quote tweets without those docking their 140-character limit. This latest test appears to be yet another attempt to come up with a way to help users engage more readily with Twitter and understand its nuances. With membership numbers floundering, any little thing should help.
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