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Twitter tests new Happening Now feature

Twitter Phone

Twitter tests new Happening Now feature

Microblogging site Twitter is currently testing a new method of showing its users what is being talked about on the site and the latest news, situating this feature at the top of the timeline.

The test, known as “Happening Now”, is a new feature that presents users with current affairs and events happening in real time. The feature takes the form of a carousel of Twitter cards, with each card representing a different event taking place, such as sports games.

Recode first reported on the test on Monday after Twitter user @JaeHokes shared a series of screenshots containing the Happening Now feature.

Users are able to scroll through the cards and click on one they’re interested in, which then takes that user through to a timeline of dedicated tweets which focus on that particular event.

In the experiment reported by Recode, the events were all live sporting events, with American Baseball games forming the vast majority of the events. Furthermore, these games were not being live streamed on Twitter, so this will not be an attempt by the platform to highlight its own live video efforts, although it is something that could be integrated by the site in the future.

The Californian-based company has been attempting to find ways to help its user base find all the content on its platform for a number of years now. At the moment, finding events and content on the platform on the mobile version of the service is done through the Explore tab, and this includes trending topics and Twitter moments.

Whilst this new feature is in experimental phases, it can only lead people to guessing the reasoning behind the tests. Perhaps Twitter wants to put some of the more popular events at the top of users’ timelines to encourage more people to watch or follow them. This could be one reason why sporting events have been included.

It could also be a test to see if users would like to have new items included above their timelines. Other social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook now have their Stories features above their main news feeds and this has encouraged users to click on the content posted there and to use it themselves. This has, thus far, been successful for these platforms, especially Instagram.

A spokesperson from Twitter has confirmed this is a test feature, but would not reveal anything further. Like most social media platforms, Twitter regularly tests out new features but not all of them make a universal roll out.

Alan Littler

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