Is Twitter’s Top-Secret Project Lightning Out To Kill Your Timeline?

Twitter, as has been written before, has a bit of a relevancy problem. Prominent investor Chris Sacca has written about it. Other investors are worried about it. The company is at an interesting stage of its evolution, following the resignation of CEO Dick Costolo.

Could Project Lightning be the answer for Twitter?

According to BuzzFeed … maybe.

BuzzFeed published details of Project Lightning, a topic and event-based browsing experience, rather than reverse chronological as Twitter has now. Sacca, in his post, noted that Twitter needs to make the experience easier for novice users who are looking for tweets around a certain topic or event, such as the NBA Finals or Orange Is the New Black.

Here’s what Project Lightning could be, but it’s still a few months away from launch, BuzzFeed writes:

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. Essentially, if it’s an event that a lot of people are tweeting about, Twitter could create an experience around it.

A BuzzFeed artist created an image of what Project Lightning could look like:


This would take a common problem with Twitter and turn it into a strength — a collective, event-based experience without having to commit to a follow. It would make Twitter much more easily accessible, gaining readers and potentially users who might find the initial setup of Twitter confusing.

Kevin Weil, senior vice president of product at Twitter, talked about Project Lightning with BuzzFeed:

There’s a beautiful connection to our strategy of reaching users on every platform. It’s not just logged-in Twitter, it’s logged-out, and it’s syndicated on other websites and mobile apps. This reaches all of them. The collections are a core part of our logged-in experience — that’s the point of being in the center tab. But you can easily imagine them as logged-out experiences telling about something happening now out in the world. And you can imagine them — and this is new — as collections and syndicating them across any website or mobile app.

Readers: If you’ve avoided Twitter, would this interest you?

Images courtesy of BuzzFeed.