Twitter this morning announced a change to how its Moments feature will work for those who want to follow the Rio 2016 Olympic Games via its platform. Previously, followable Moments were limited-time collections that would insert tweets into a user’s timeline for a matter of hours or, at most, a few days. But with the debut of the followable Olympics Moments, Twitter will insert Olympic-related tweets into a user’s timeline for weeks at a time.
The idea, explains the company, is to make it easier for people to follow the Games with minimal work. That is, instead of having to locate the right accounts to follow or search via hashtags or keywords, they can instead just choose to follow their favorite sports and events to see those tweets appear on their timeline.
This idea is smart, and brings Twitter back to its roots. Longtime Twitter users will remember an old feature called “Twitter Track,” which let you follow topics of interest, rather than having to follow accounts. It was something that made it easier to participate in the sort of conversations you cared about, but it eventually was overshadowed by search, hashtags and algorithmic timelines.
The Moments feature can also be used to catch up on what you missed during the day, thanks to recap Moments, which will highlight the results, medal counts, and other notable newsworthy items.
The live Olympic Moments for select sports and events will be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. In these markets, plus Germany and France, users will be able to also follow country-specific Moments.
In addition to Moments, Twitter is rolling out 207 team emojis that will activate when users tweet with the three-letter country code hashtag for their favorite team. There will also be over 50 Olympics and sports emoji that can be triggered by hashtags, too. (The hashtags will be available in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.)
Sports emojis as well as the main hashtags of #Rio2016 and #Olympics will also work in Japanese, Korean and Arabic.
This is the most emojis that Twitter has ever made for one event, the company notes.
Of course, Twitter is also pulling in its other properties to complement its Olympic coverage. Periscope will have a featured Olympic channel and Vine will also offer Olympics-related content in its “Explore” section on mobile.
For added flare, when you like an Olympics Vine, you’ll see an Olympics Flame instead of a heart.
Meanwhile, Twitter Amplify will bring video highlights from the events to Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.S..
Twitter, which is in need of growing its stagnant user base, is also planning to use the Games to heavily market its service. Life-sized hashtags will be installed across Rio; tweets will be projected live on Rio’s aqueduct Arcos da Lapa; “Olympic Boulevard” will feature Olympics-related tweets on big screens; and a tour buzz dubbed “Twitter Buzz” will display tweets and Periscope broadcasts through its windows.
All the emojis and types of Moments will be available in the days ahead, but the dedicated Moments section is available now.