The NASCAR page may not seem like anything to be concerned about, since it appears to be just a typical grouping of tweets collected by hashtag. But there is editorial control behind it as well as algorithms, with an editor choosing which messages — including photos, videos and commentary from NASCAR insiders — were highlighted during the event, and which streamed by unacknowledged. And Twitter has made it clear that this kind of effort is not aimed primarily at brands (although it almost certainly will involve them at some point) but is intended for events. In other words, for the news.
It’s easy to imagine a similar page constructed around a revolution in Libya, or an earthquake in Japan, or virtually any other news event.
For a while, now, advanced media organizations that have incorporated Twitter into their live news coverage have curated the posts collected under a promoted hashtag specifically related to a story. Usually it has been through retweeting on their own account, or an embedded tailored Twitter feed on a story page on their website, or through a third-party tool such as Storify. Twitter’s own hashtag pages are not much different. Except they are directly on Twitter where all 140 million Twitter users are already. That is a powerful content marketing and audience generation advantage.
If this becomes the preferred venue for such coverage, the trial will be integrating Twitter’s editorial environment with the one we use for all the rest of our coverage.