Twitter has a new big thing coming called Project Lightning.
Twitter is expanding into covering live events with curated videos and tweets in a visual attractive way. Called Project Lightning the new offering will be available logged out. This means consumers do not need to be a Twitter user to access a Twitter live event coverage.
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Buzzfeed's Mat Honan got a demonstration of Project Lightning. He describes the functionality as like this "On Twitter’s mobile app, there will be a new button in the center of the home row. Press it and you’ll be taken to a screen that will show various events taking place that people are tweeting about. These could be based on prescheduled events like Coachella, the Grammys, or the NBA Finals. But they might also focus on breaking news and ongoing events, like the Nepalese earthquake or Ferguson, Missouri."
Kevin Weil, Twitter's head of product says: "It’s around anything that’s interesting. It could be current events. It could be breaking news. It could be awards shows or sports. But also cultural events and moments — things around your location and where you are. There’s amazing content, for example, posted to Throwback Thursday every single Thursday. But it’s hard to discover it; you have to work as a user to go and find the best stuff, but [we] can do it easily and can package it richly."
Twitter users will be able to follow these live events and get updates on their timelines.
Project Lightning, which is still several months away, could be a powerful way for Twitter to grow their user base. This is essential as Twitter is stuck and investors are not happy about it. Twitter is already the go to place for users to find out the latest about live events or breaking news. It is natural for Twitter to build on top of that and make the experience more attractive as it is a pain to find the best and most up to date Tweets.
The human curated Project Lightning coverage could solve that if its delivering on Twitter's promise. It needs to be absolutely current. If it lags and users can find fresher news by searching Twitter Project Lightning will fail.
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What more, Twitter is now also getting into the publishing business of sorts. They follow the trend right now of companies like Facebook and Apple to try to take control of content and serve it to their users getting a cut of the action. Publishers like us are still trying to wrap their head around that.