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October 11, 2017

Twitter’s new happening-now feature tells you what’s happening … now

by John_A

Why it matters to you

If you’re into news and sports, then Twitter’s new Happening Now feature should be a useful addition to your timeline.

Your Twitter timeline is about to incorporate a new feature called Happening Now. Sitting at the top of your feed, Happening Now is a carousel of events that are happening … well … now.

At launch, the feature will focus on sports games, though Twitter promises it’ll soon expand Happening Now to include breaking news events, entertainment updates, and so on.

If one of the events in the carousel catches your eye, tap on it and you’ll be taken to an unfolding list of algorithmically-organized tweets connected to what’s happening. Sports games, for example, will show the latest score at the top of the display and a related stream of tweets underneath.

The company said it’ll tailor the Happening Now suggestions to each user’s interests, so hopefully there’ll be more hits than misses sitting at the top of your timeline. If you’re not sure about a suggestion, you can tap on its downward-facing arrow to find out why Twitter thinks you’ll be interested. If you’re still not persuaded, simply reject it to help Twitter do better next time.

Feel the roar of the crowd, no matter where you are.

We’re rolling out a new way to see what’s happening now, starting with sports in! Available on Android and iOS starting today.

— Twitter (@Twitter) October 10, 2017

For users familiar with Twitter’s growing number of features, Happening Now may sound a bit like Moments, which currently lives under the Trending section in Search. Moments also focuses on particular events, though offered tweets have been specially chosen by a Twitter team in an effort to present an easy-to-follow breakdown of the selected topic. Presentation is a little different with Moments, as each tweet fills the screen and is more likely to include visuals images.

Both Happening Now and Moments are attempts by Twitter to make the service more friendly for new users, which it desperately needs, and also to encourage further engagement with the app among its existing user base.

Happening Now, which is available for iOS and Android in the U.S., has been released ahead of another new feature coming to Twitter that we learned about yesterday. Though currently without an official name or projected release date, the company confirmed on Monday that it’s working on a bookmarking button to let you save tweets for later reference. It’s a feature many on Twitter have been asking for, with many having had to make do with less-than-perfect workarounds.

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