Social media apps are like belly buttons: everyone has one, and with minor variations (innies versus outies) they pretty much look alike. That's why when the foiks from Lightt first approached me about their new social sharing app and service I approached it with a great deal of skepticism. But after using the app for a week, I'll admit that I'm a bit hooked on it. OK, more than a bit...
The premise behind Lightt (free app) is simple: photographs don't tell a full story and video can take too long to edit and watch. What Lightt does is capture "highlights," silent snippets of your life made up of 10 seconds of snapped pictures. Those highlights can be captioned like a tweet and are automatically and instantly delivered to a Lightt cloud for viewing and sharing.
Your highlights are stored in a seamless stream (see example video below). To see just what you've been doing in your day-to-day life, there's a ME animated button that plays back your stream while showing the location and time that the stream was captured. That stream is combined with the streams from all of your friends under the Happening Now animated button, forming a constant flow of images showing how life is progressing for you and those you follow.
Some segments are called out for special attention under a Featured button, although I'm not exactly sure why someone making a sandwich in front of Robert Scoble would be considered special. I think this will be much more useful as Lightt goes live and certain highlights become favorites of the community.
In a discussion with Lightt CEO Alex Mostoufi, he explained that human brains are unusually good at remembering the visual details of thousands of photographs. The highlights are easily captured, compressed and transmitted to the cloud, and it's also easy to view them over a mobile connection. The Happening Now stream plays back just as quickly on the crappy AT&T 4G mobile connection I'm currently on as it does on WiFi.
To me, the immediacy of the highlights makes Lightt different from any other social app. During my testing of the app, I wasn't following close friends or co-workers; just folks like Mostoufi and other Lightt staffers, and a few tech notables like Walt Mossberg from AllThingsD and TechCrunch's MG Siegler. But I found watching the Happening Now and Featured streams to be fascinating, offering an interesting insight into what people do in their day-to-day lives.