Even though Project Lighting is not set for release anytime soon, it could be big for the company, which has been stumbling since announcing the departure of CEO Dick Costolo.
Twitter is expanding into covering live events with curated videos and tweets in a visual attractive way. They can include everything from major sporting events and music festivals to breaking news, such as the #BlackLivesMatter protests.
The company presently has 302 million monthly active users, but Wall Street analysts have repeatedly bemoaned Twitter’s inability to expand its user base.
“We’ve seen in the past that we have so much conversation around events”, said Twitter head of global media operations Katie Jacobs Stanton, who will be in charge of the editors tasked with curating news. For mobile users, these tweets won’t appear in a standard Twitter timeline – instead, users will be presented with tweets, photos and videos that take up the entire screen and can be scrolled through with a swipe of the finger.
In an anecdotal sense, when it comes to following the news on Twitter, the site isn’t exactly spotless. In all cases – including embedded stories – events will keep updating as long as Twitter’s editors add to them.
Twitter has been trying hard to expand the appeal of its service, particularly among less tech savvy users. Project Lightning is kinda like Snapchat.
All of this content, will be made available to smartphone owners via an app, and will be available to both Twitter users as well as non-users.
That’s the same problem Twitter also aims to solve with Project Lightning.
Twitter wants to better explain to people how to use its services, and make the microblogging site more useful for non-members, people with knowledge of companies plans have said. (The company is in the process of hiring these “curators”, who will be aided by software in their search for the most relevant tweets, but will always have the final say.). That means you can get updates about an event like the Oscars on your timeline, without having to follow the celebrities who are tweeting about it. Your account will automatically unfollow the event a while after it finishes.
For logged out or non-member users, the experience is designed to act as a gateway; users still get a complete experience (minus some of the confusion or sense of missing pieces that can come with stumbling on a tweet without context currently), and are also drawn to participate with their own content or responses to what they see.
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