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June 19, 2015, 10 a.m.
Audience & Social

Twitter criticism has reached critical mass in the past couple of weeks, topped off by CEO Dick Costolo’s departure. One frequent complaint is that Twitter is too unorganized; when you log in and look at your stream, it’s hard to tell what the day’s most important events are.

This disorganization extends to the company’s management and strategy, Twitter investor and advisor Chris Sacca wrote in a blog post Thursday:

Twitter’s primary challenge isn’t on the product side of the house as much as that might have been the case in years past. Frankly, there is no shortage of ideas at Twitter about how to improve Twitter. There is no lack of product vision at Twitter … Instead, there is an absence of storytelling at Twitter. The issue is that we outside the company have had to do to much work to see and understand all of this. Twitter often still acts like a private company.

An attempt to remedy this disorganization on the product side is Project Lightning, which Twitter plans to roll out later this year. “Project Lightning will bring event-based curated content to the Twitter platform,” BuzzFeed explained Thursday, “complete with immersive and instant-load photos and videos and the ability to embed those experiences across the Web — and even in other apps.” Here’s how it will work:

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.

You’ll be able to view the events even if you’re not a Twitter user and aren’t logged in.

Project Lightning is “a major overhaul of the Twitter experience that will undoubtedly make Twitter more appealing for casual users and enrich the logged-out experience making it much easier to capture and monetize that massive audience,” Sacca wrote. “Any of us seeing that product would probably be equally confident about Twitter’s future.”

Meanwhile, Business Insider interviewed Jonathan Abrams, the founder and CEO of social news reader Nuzzel. The Nuzzel app lets users see the top news that their friends are sharing on Facebook and Twitter; Sacca argued earlier this month that Twitter should buy it. Abrams told BI about an upcoming Nuzzel feature: Automatically generated email newsletters.

“Somebody’s Nuzzel feed can sort of be treated as an automatic newsletter. So you are a DJ or economist, journalist, author or politician, marketing expert or anybody who wants to cultivate an audience, or you have things that you want to promote, if you rely on Twitter and Facebook, right now most of your fans can’t see what you post … if you have a newsletter that people are getting in their inbox every morning, that automatically generates the content that is relevant, that’s a way to engage with people on a daily basis.”

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