Twitter is finally developing something that its users might actually want.
Twitter is developing a new major feature called “Project Lightning” that will use the concept of “events” to bring a curated and immersive experience to users. This new feature will be found using a button on the twitter apps home screen. The button when clicked will direct the user to a screen with events occurring in real time. Basically anything that is happening and that’s interesting. 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.
This new feature will be a game changer for twitter users as it will allow them to follow live events as they are happening as if they were at the events. You can click in and simply scroll through a curated event, and as you do a scrub bar along the bottom of the Twitter client tracks your progress until you either reach its end or catch up with tweets being posted in real time. For instance, as you scroll through tweets of the Grammys, the bar may start a few hours prior to the onset of the show and as you progressed through all of the curated videos and photos you’d eventually hit the most current which would be identified by a lightning bolt icon.
What is even better is that you can choose to follow an event and have curated tweets blended in your timeline. However that doesn’t mean that you follow the accounts where those tweets originate. So for example if you may see Justin Beiber Tweets from the Many Vs Paquio fight in the curated fight event, you would not actually follow Him if you weren’t already.
The new tool will give the company a way to show the best of Twitter to both logged-in and logged-out users on a variety of platforms. It will have instantly loading videos and rich images, and will occupy a front-and-center location in an upcoming version of the Twitter app.
Twitter badly needed the new feature to help it get new users as well as keep the current ones interested. The move will help it grab a bigger portion of digital advertising dollars. Promoters could employ on-site social teams to help create a 360 user experience that show cases private, onstage and backstage moments. Advertisers will obviously align themselves with this events and artists.
Will the new feature help Twitter improve its user numbers and engagement metrics, which is what Wall Street investors really want to see? That’s difficult to say, since it doesn’t even officially exist yet. But amid the false starts, bad ideas and general chaos that have made up Twitter’s product strategy for the past couple of years, it is a beacon of hope for users, and that can’t be bad.