I was pleasantly surprised to see a report that Twitter is launching a "Happening Now" feature, starting with sporting events but soon to be expanded to other areas. Breaking news would be an ideal candidate.
Someone at Twitter is listening - or at least finally on the same page.
Feel the roar of the crowd, no matter where you are.
— Twitter (@Twitter) October 10, 2017
Back in February, with regards to Twitter commoditising live, I wrote:
"What if Twitter automatically pushed us breaking news or trending topics, placing them into our feed instead of us having to seek them out via a different tab...
"Breaking news items could be automatically placed at the head of the feed using a variant of the regional trending options."
Twitter's support page states:
"You may see events featured at the top of your timeline labeled as Happening now. When available, we’ll show you events and topics we think you might be interested in..."
There will obviously be some form of algorithmic selection for what items to show based on interests but this could easily be expanded to include locality and trending.
There is no indication that you can follow these items to automatically have their tweets show in your feed, perhaps it would be too overwhelming when not curated like Moments, but having important news pushed to us in this manner is a major step forward. I see this as fundamental to Twitter's role.
I may not use the network anymore but I still think it commands a vital place in society if only its shortcomings can be resolved.