(Pocket-lint) - Twitter can be intimidating - especially if you're new to the service.
In order to take advantage of what can arguably be called the most influential news tool of our time, you have to follow the right accounts at the right time. Otherwise you won't see conversations between world leaders and celebrities, news being reported as it happens by citizens, live commentary on big events, cultural memes, and more.
Twitter has apparently realised that new users and even regular users in general go the site or open the app to see stories unfolding, and so to help them discover those stories without having to follow certain accounts, it's launched a new feature called Moments.
Here's everything we know so far about Moments...
Twitter Moments: What is it?
To put it simply: Moments is a new tab (lightning bolt icon) offered on both Twitter's desktop site and its mobile apps. You'll find it wedged between Notifications and Messages. Tap it to discover the biggest or trending stuff happening on Twitter - complete with pics, vids, tweets, and conversations. The Moments tab is now live.
Twitter Moments: How do moments work?
Let's say you don't follow US President Barack Obama, and then he posts something especially interesting on Twitter that everybody has been talking about over the last hour. Well, regardless of who you follow, you can visit the new Moments tab to see the largest news from the day, which might include Obama's tweet.
Moments will basically aggregate and display all sorts of new stories (aka moments) that matter now as well as new stories that are emerging throughout the day or over the past few days. If you only want to see moments about certain topics, you can refine them by categories like today, news, entertainment, sports, and fun.
Twitter Moments: Who curates the moments?
It's important to remember that these moments are curated and continually updated by Twitter.
To be specific, they are curated by Twitter's curation team, though some are contributed by partners, including Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue, and the Washington Post. This group of partners will grow over time.
We're thinking Moments could one day turn into a Snapchat-like Discover feature, in which publishers and partners create stories that deliver immersive and interactive news bites to their followers. Twitter said it looks forward to seeing "new and exciting uses of moments from more partners soon".
Twitter Moments: What do moments feature or include?
When you click/tap an individual moment, you'll see an introduction with a title and description about that moment.
You'll then see full-beed images, autoplaying videos, Vines, and GIFs, and tweets, which you can retweet, favourite, or expand. A progress bar will be available to indicate how much information is in each Moment.
Also, on mobile, you can swipe up or down to dismiss the moment and go back to the "guide" (the Moments hub), where as on desktop you'll have to click back or look to the left or bottom of your screen to see more top moments.
Twitter Moments: Can you share a moment?
At the end of an individual moment, you can use a share button to send it to others or tweet your thoughts. Keep in mind that a moment can be shared or embedded anywhere - just like a tweet.
Twitter Moments: Can you follow moments for updates?
Yes. Twitter said individual moments are updated as new information, photos, videos, and tweets become available. You'll know when a moment has been updated since you last viewed it when you see a blue dot in the upper righthand corner of the main image attached to/associated with the moment.
To help you stay tuned into moments that are updated frequently, such as a live sporting event or awards show, you will see an option to follow a moment. If you do, Twitter will blend tweets related to that moment directly into your timeline, thus eliminating the need to constantly flop between tabs.
When a story/moment ends, so do the tweets in your timeline.
Twitter Moments: Where is it available?
Moments is initially launching in the US. It is available on Twitter for Android, iPhone, and the desktop web. But anyone outside of the US can view a link to a Moment in a tweet, direct message, or even if it's embedded elsewhere.
Want to know more?
Check out Twitter's blog post for more details.