Twitter is readying a new breaking-news and event platform, Project Lightning, which will package tweets and multimedia in the hope of converting new users. While the current Twitter process involves following individuals or companies and manually curating what shows up in your stream, Project Lightning will be a temporary aggregator of content across the Twitterverse, visible to both logged-in users and unregistered newbies alike.
The goal is to take the gush of messages and opinions that come with any event and deliver them in a timely and engaging way, Twitter’s Dick Costolo told Buzzfeed.
Each of the Project Lightning events will be by their very nature transient: viewers in the Twitter app or tracking along in the browser will be able to see and follow the curated content, but without having to follow the individual participants included.
Once the event is over, it will automatically disappear leaving your regular follow list unaffected.
Twitter envisages anything from 7-10 events shared each day through Project Lightning, served up in a new tab in the mobile app. Each piece of content will be selected by a freshly-formed news team at the company, and be shown full-screen; swipes will navigate through, with an emphasis on fast-loading video and photos, along with Periscope streams and Vines.
Crucially, the events will be visible to anybody, whether or not they have a Twitter account. The hope, Costolo says, is that people who might otherwise be confused as to the point of Twitter might find it easier to understand the service if it’s framed in the context of a group experience: watching a football game, perhaps, or an awards show, or even following along with a national emergency.
While Project Lightning will be for Twitter’s own use initially, the company has plans to offer it as a tool to other news agencies in time.
The new feature is expected to launch publicly later in the year.