Twitter has long sought ways to expand its reach and user base. The most straightforward route seems simple: entice more people to create a Twitter account.
The company's latest initiative, Project Lightning, takes a much different approach. Detailed in a new report from Buzzfeed, Twitter will soon curate content like images, videos, Vines and tweets, packaging them into a new form of event coverage — coverage that even those without a Twitter account can view.
A new button on the Twitter mobile app will show users various events happening in the world at any given moment. A team of Twitter curators will collect some of the most prominent tweets and content on the platform around a particular event and craft it into an "experience." Click on an event, and gone is your usual Twitter feed.
It's replaced by a full-screen experience in which each tweet or video is viewed one at a time. Simply swipe to move on to the next one, starting at the earliest tweet or video in the timeline and progressing forward in time.
Videos in the event stream will load almost instantly and play automatically. Keep moving through the content stream by swiping (your progress in the event timeline is shown at the bottom of the screen) and you will eventually arrive at what's most current.
Think of it as an evolution of the site's "trending" feature. Only with Project Lightning, even those who haven't made or signed into a Twitter account can take full advantage of the curated event coverage. Those without an account can view the events on Twitter.com as well as on other apps. The event streams can even be embedded onto different websites, and will be continually updated as new tweets about the event come in.
Those who do sign in can have tweets and videos from an event woven into their main feed, with those tweets and videos automatically disappearing after an event's conclusion.
Twitter tells Buzzfeed the site will be looking at curating seven to 10 events each day. Eventually, the site will open up the feature for other organizations, allowing Twitter to build events for niche demographics.
It's a genius way for Twitter to get more eyeballs on its content without forcing people to create an account. No specific launch date for the project has been given, but Buzzfeed says there are still "months left" before Project Lightning is released to the public.
Photo Credit: Andreas Eldh | Flickr