Can Project Lightning save Twitter?

By David Cumpston, LCI Director, Client Services
Faced with a dwindling user base, Twitter is set to launch a new product later this year which it hopes will engage more people with the use of large-scale photos and videos to highlight trending events.
Dubbed “Project Lightning,” the microblogging site is adding a new photo-centric tool that takes users to the photos, videos and tweets pertaining to major trending events. The goal is to simply get more people looking at and engaged with Twitter. Will it work?
On the Twitter app, users will be able to press a button that takes them to an events screen. Kevin Weil, who heads Twitter’s product team, told BuzzFeed that “events” are defined as anything happening that’s interesting. “It could be current events. It could be breaking news. It could be awards shows or sports. But also cultural events and moments,” he said.
How will this change impact media and PR professionals?

  • If successful, Twitter will play a larger role in the way people consume media – which means Twitter could become a primary, if not THE primary, news outlet for users.
  • The visual aspect of Project Lightning will give even greater importance to photos and videos as part of the overall content consumption experience.
  • The ability to follow events will make it easier to keep up with trending topics without having to filter through unrelated content that’s being shared by users at the same time.
  • The potential to create custom curated lists could forever change the way Twitter is used by the media.

What’s your take on Project Lightning? Will it help Twitter become more mainstream by attracting an older audience? Or will this latest step by the company ultimately lead to its own demise by getting too far away from the core features that current users have come to know and love? Leave your comments in the space below or email me at [email protected].

4 thoughts on “Can Project Lightning save Twitter?

  1. David, thanks for the update on Project Lightning. Not sure if this will save Twitter, they need to truly figure out their business model. But given that Twitter is based in SF, I hope the company will survive – they employ a lot of people! Cheers, David (Landis)

  2. Great blog David! Excited to see how Project Lightning looks and operates once it’s up and running!

  3. In this case, lighting will strike twice and many more times than that. This is a smart strategy for Twitter – which desperately needs smart strategy.

  4. Thanks for the post, David. I don’t necessarily think this move will “save” Twitter, but I am curious to see how people, particularly the media, will use it as breaking news unfolds. I’m looking forward to its debut!

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