Twitter’s Project Lightning could change everything


Twitter has been heavily criticized lately: user growth is slowing, ad revenue is meager, the CEO just resigned, and even though the platform is the king of mass media, sports, and celebrity, the average joe simply doesn’t seem to care much. But when Twitter flips the switch on Project Lightning they could flip the script on the whole world and take their dominance of real-time interaction to the next level.


Here is the nitty gritty on Project Lightning:

  • New “Event Pages” will turn trending topics into temporary information hubs
  • Twitter employees will curate the content shown on these new all-important pages
  • The pages will feature Tweets, photos, and Vines selected by staff
  • Live videos from Periscope will be prominently displayed when most important
  • Mobile devices will display one piece of content per screen with Tinder-like swiping to get to additional content

Imagine following breaking news stories like the Baltimore Riots or NBA Finals with these new pages. Instead of watching the news or reading blogs that reference individual tweets, Twitter will make itself the source that a user can follow by reading the curated coverage.

This takes Twitter’s already popular “Trending Topics” to the next level. Trending topics are inherently overwhelming because by the time it is trending, there is so much constant content flowing in that it’s impossible to follow any type of dialogue. Project Lightning will solve this problem by building an entirely new experience for the most important topics in real-time. And did we mention that members will be able to follow individual events, helping to attract those previously overwhelmed average joes?

This could change everything.

According to outgoing CEO Dick Costolo’s interview with Buzzfeed, Project Lightning has been in the works “for a long, long time” and will launch later this year. You’ll find these event pages on the web (logged in or out), in the Twitter app, and even find events embedded on other sites.

I’m not a big Twitterer and largely find the social experience exhausting and annoying, but when this goes live? You can count me in.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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    1. It’s not a “massive security hole”, it affected ZERO users and Sammy has a fix for this “hole” that can only be exploited under some very specific conditions while connected to an attackers wifi hotspot.

      1. You have no way of knowing whether anyone has been affected by this. It’s very easily exploitable if you’re on an open WiFi network, and more difficult to exploit but far from impossible on any other network.

        Any remote exploit that allows arbitrary code to be installed should be taken very seriously.

        1. Samsung has reported zero complains – this is a theoretical exploit, so it’s not worth wasting more time writing articles about it.

          Had it been a lock-screen exploit, which affects pretty much every user under any circumstance, then the news should be constant.

          1. You wouldn’t know if you were a victim of the exploit, so it’s not surprising they’ve had zero complaints. Even if this truly never was exploited, now that the cat’s out of the bag, exploits will be coming. If Sammy had fixed it months ago when they were privately told, it wouldn’t be an issue.

          2. I agree it should be dealt with sooner, but lets be honest, just like downloading apks from warez sites – you should NEVER connect to an unknown, open wifi hotspot. This kind of exploit is the least of your concern if you do.

          3. I agree, but people DO use open wifi networks all the time at coffee shops, stores, hotels, airports, etc. You can’t really expect the masses to stop doing this anymore than you can expect them to stop clicking on questionable email attachments.

          4. Those poor people. They have bigger issues than this.

          5. You really hate people, huh?

        2. Here, have this tin foil hat, and wear it in good health.

          1. No tin foil hat needed. Remote exploits like this are serious. When something like this is reported for Windows, no matter how obscure and difficult to exploit, people go apesh*t. Samsung has a relatively easy to exploit bug, and nobody cares?

          2. Millions more people use Windows than GS6 and it’s a small window if you’re dumb enough to use open WiFi.

          3. This isn’t just GS6, it’s most Galaxy phones… 600 million of them. And it is possible (but hard) to exploit this without open WiFi. Even it were only open WiFi, it doesn’t excuse Samsung from ignoring the problem they knew about for 8 months.

          4. And when it happens to iPhones, it’s the top story on the 5 o’clock news

          5. I’m reminded of the Lenovo Superfish debacle. They got torn apart by the press for weeks. A very similar issue to this one… a serious security hole that, as far as we know, never was actually exploited. Lenovo takes a big hit to its reputation, but for Samsung (with orders of magnitude more devices at risk) nobody cares.

        3. Open WiFi networks are a bigger security risk than this bug. Don’t use open WiFi.

          1. Why doesn’t Samsung just not allow you to use open WiFi networks if they’re so risky, or at least educating people to the risk? No matter how risky, it doesn’t excuse them leaving this hole open. I’d fired if I were responsible for something like that.

            Also, open WiFi networks are fine as long as you use VPN and/or encrypt everything.

    2. Most of the sites covering security holes, viruses, malware, etc… are seeking easy clicks with loosely true stories focused on scare tactics. It’s the worst kind of clickbait and from what I’ve seen, this specific topic is also on that list. If anything, we would have covered it to explain it’s mostly a non-issue.

      1. Like I said to EP_2012, any remote exploit that allows arbitrary code to be silently installed should be taken very seriously. While I agree many sites are over-sensationalizing this, it’s far from a “non-issue”.

        I also have to wonder if you’d be reporting this if it were another manufacturer. Sammy also seems to get a pass from Phandroid when it comes to problems with their devices when others don’t.

        1. I strongly disagree with that:

          We cover it how we see it.

          1. Yet you ignore the GS6’s crippling memory leaks, bluetooth connectivity issues, and its broken screen rotation.

          2. They’re doing humanity a huge disservice.

          3. Seriously???

          4. Yah, Phandroid have let the human race down by not reporting on a bug that’s hard to exploit and was caught soon and affects hardly anyone.

          5. Did you say the same when Superfish was big news? Like this one, as far as we know no actual exploits occurred, and far, far fewer devices were affected than this. Did you give Lenovo the same pass?

          6. No, because Phandroid doesn’t cover laptops.

          7. I was asking you, not Phandroid. The point being both are pretty dangerous exploits that haven’t (as far as we know) been exploited.

          8. Uh, yah, I thought you were asking me, which is why I started my answer with “No”. The point of Phandroid not running a articles on these exploits has already been explained here, and if neither were even exploited then they’re even less of an issue.

        2. “The likelihood of such an attack being pulled off is incredibly small”. Not big news

    3. The average Joe doesn’t care that much about Twitter because it’s an incredibly annoying phenomenon that passes as “social” media. At least Facebook lets you keep in touch with people and Snapchat is somewhat amusing. Hashtags suck, tweets suck, Twitter sucks.

  1. Lost me at “twitter employees”… This is how yahoo lost to Google: automated vs manual sorting. This isn’t 2000

    1. Dude lost me at “…they could flip the script…” Flip the script? XD XD XD I’m still dying over here and can barely type… What is this, Using Outdated Slang in Journalism 101? LOL. I kid, I kid. But really, I’m amazed at Twitter because for all the millions of “users” the service has, I’ve never known anyone that has one. I’ve always known people with Facebooks, Instagrams, and the like but never Twitter. Personally, I’ve never seen the point to the service but the hashtags that trend and go viral for good purposes is very useful indeed.

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