A secret Twitter plan, dubbed Project Lightning, has just been revealed. Project Lightning, according to a BuzzFeed interview with Twitter, is going to change how the platform works.
The plan is to offer a live event coverage platform, on Twitter, than can also be posted across the web.
The new feed should offer a video and photo focused feed that's easy to scroll though during live events.
How does Project Lightning work?
So if an event, say The Grammys, is happening with everyone uploading photos and videos, that will be pulled into one feed. This feed will be available to follow, a bit like how you'd follow a hashtag. But rather than simply being within Twitter it will also be shareable elsewhere so Twitter users and non-Twitter users alike can enjoy the coverage. And it's curated.
Not only Twitter but Vine and Periscope posts will all be pulled in with the videos playing automatically.
So how can the madness that is a Twitter feed be filtered down into a rich feed of media? A team of editors will be curating the tweets to offer the best and most relevant content for the end package. But rather than view the tweets you'll view full-screen photos or videos and scroll though them.
How does Lightning affect normal Twitter use?
These events can be added to your feed so as it's happening the tweet will appear in your normal feed, even from those you're not following.
Then, when the event stops those tweets end, without you having to add anyone new to follow, despite enjoying their tweets during the event.
Where can you view Lighting events?
You'll be able to follow events from within Twitter online or the app as well as on other sites.
Twitter will allow sites to embed the events, a bit like how YouTube does with its videos now. If embedded, the events will update live as they get updated on Twitter.
What Lightning mean for news?
Katie Jacob Stanton, head of the curating editorial team at Twitter, says: "The challenge we’ve had over the years is, although we have the world’s greatest content, it’s like having a television without a channel guide or even a remote control. There’s no way to really find it or contextualise that content. So [Project Lightning] is this beautiful vessel for us to surface great content and make it more delightful."
Using editors means Twitter is becoming a more human news medium. Is it gunning for the big news platforms of the world? It's certainly going to tread on some toes but its goal, at least for now, appears to be to share Twitter content more simply. It also wants to share that with non-Twitter users as a means to get them hooked on the platform.
When will Lightning appear and how much content will there be?
At the moment the only reveal on Project Lightning's release has been that it will launch later this year.
Twitter anticipates it will post between seven and ten of these events per day. But the long term plan is to open up the tool so that other people can use it. So one day we may see news companies sharing their content through Lightning, blended in with the public's coverage.
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