Twitter wants to roll out a ‘DVR Mode’ for live events

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If you’re the kind of person who loves watching live events and tweeting about them at the same time (a lot of people do), then a new feature proposed by the social network might be of interest to you.

During a moderated panel at the Center for Technology Innovation, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo spoke about how the company was addressing the problem of cyber-bullying and the need to come up with better systems for filtering out the harassment. But it was his comments on how Twitter deals with live events that stirred the most interest.

As TechCrunch notes, Twitter’s battle with covering live events has been an evolving one. In the early days, the battle was keeping the platform up when there was a big event. That’s largely been resolved and these days the problem is figuring out how to make sure that the streams of data coming out of live events make sense.

“That ability to track and monitor the moments within an event, either as they happen or to catch up with them, is something we want to enhance,” said Costolo. “We want to make that experience even better, curating the moments within the event, the media from it, and making it that much easier to navigate.”

He highlighted the example of the 2012 Summer Olympics, where Twitter tried to curate and highlight tweets from athletes and news organisations, but it didn’t work out so well. “The amazing thing about that was that you lost the roar of the crowd,” said Costolo. Twitter had effectively become a news aggregetor, something it was never meant to be.

“We’re not in the business of synthesizing and analyzing,” he said of the data on Twitter. “It’s the journalists and the news organizations in the world who will take all this info and analyze and curate it as they’ve always done,” he explained.

In a bid to get around this, the company is apparently experimenting with a feature that will retain the “roar of the crowd” but still highlight key tweets.

Right now, following events happens in reverse chronological order, but doing so sometimes means losing out on seeing what the really critical parts of an event are.

“It would be nice to see things like a graphic of spikes in the conversation, what time they happened…and be able to scroll back to that time to see what happened at that particular moment,” Costolo said.

Offering that feature to users, Costolo said, could be a major boon for the social network especially for following a live event. And if they were watching a delayed version of the event, they would be able to “follow along with Twitter in a DVR mode,” he said.

The feature is still in the testing phase and it’s unclear when it will roll out to the public. It’s fairly obvious through that the feature is part of Twitter’s attempts to become the default second-screen app. Costolo likened watching TV without Twitter as being like “watching [TV] with the volume off.”

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