Twitter to create social media DVR: a replay function for Twitter streams

By on June 27, 2013, 10:53 AM
twitter, social, dvr, social media

Social media is in many ways a real-time news outlet. As soon as a sporting event is played, a natural disaster unfolds, or a new product is released, Twitter will keep you up to date with the most pertinent information.

Unfortunately, it also happens all too often that someone misses the latest episode of their favourite TV show, and prays that they can avoid all social media before finally watching the plot unfold at a later time. This is a lot harder than it sounds, and even if successful, the individual will miss out on everything that goes on in the Twitter-sphere. After all, Twitter doesn’t have a replay button; at least not yet.

Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, is reportedly working on a social media DVR. The aim of the project is to highlight the best moments and reactions from live events, and then allow users to replay the content at a later time. "Right now, you get purely the reverse chronological order of the tweets. It would be nice to see things like a graphic of spikes in the conversation. And be able to scroll back to that time and see what happened at that particular moment,” Costolo said.

It’s easy to see why Twitter is so successful when placed alongside live TV. Take the NBA playoffs for example, which recently came to a close this past week. Twitter was a delicate mix of humorous commentary, serious reflection, in-game photos, and an expression of either pure elation or defeat when the final buzzer sounded.

That being said, recreating this experience might prove to be difficult. No one wants to sort through an endless stream of old tweets, especially after all the excitement has worn away. A prime example of this was the 2012 Olympics, where Twitter encouraged important athletes and authoritative commentators to take us through past sporting events. This initiative failed to reach company expectations, but Costolo thinks he knows why.

”You lost the roar of the crowd that really made Twitter feel like Twitter,” he explained. “We need to be able to maintain that roar of the crowd while surfacing these moments.”

The Twitter CEO addressed the project at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. He did not go into specifics about the new feature, but explained that it was currently in testing. There was no mention of an expected release date.




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