TwitterHub - Ambient Public Display Utility for Twitter content
TwitterHub is an ambient and highly configurable Twitter public display utility application. It is designed to be deployed on a large screen e.g. television or projected display for use in a variety of settings. It is a Adobe AIR application and builds upon the TwitterCamp application developed by Daniel Dura, but extends and enhances it in a number of ways which are outlined below.
It can be used in a variety of contexts:
- Within the DCU campus, it is used as a public display application installed on a number of TV screens in the corridors of the Computing building. It provides an ambient display for global technology news and for local research centre specific news and updates to be displayed on.
- At Arizona State University, the Reflective Living team have deployed the system on a screen within the working space, to create visibility of social content amongst the research group. In this scenario it is used as an awareness tool for the group.
- It has been deployed at a number of conferences and festivals to provide a backchannel to the event.
The TwitterHub application differs from the original TwitterCamp application in the following ways:
- The tweets in the main status display area can be cycled. Rather than waiting for a new tweet to arrive, a stack of existing tweets can be cycled through to make the content appear more dynamic and fresher.
- It introduces an Announcements panel in the footer. This allows tweets from the authenticated account to be diverted and displayed with prominence.
- Options provided at login allow different sources of twitter content to be selected. Not only can you choose to display the public timeline for the account, but alternatively, another users timeline, all mentions of the authenticated user or the results of a custom search can be used to populate the main status display.
- It supports the new OAuth authentication format.
- The display options can be heavily customised: from the time a tweet or announcement transitions; the number of items that are held on the stack to cycle through; should retweets be shown; how often to refresh the timeline, etc.
- In addition to this the visual appearance of the application can be flexibly customised: the background images and colours can be changed; the footer can be resized; logos replaced and resizes; fonts can be customised; etc. In the announcements, any replies or retweets will be cleaned up to remove any 'twitter speak' and make them look more formal announcements. e.g. 'RT @clarityucd CLARITY Newsletter now available http://....' will be come 'CLARITY Newsletter now available http://....'. Alternatively there's support to remove these retweets and replies altogether from the announcements area.
- There is support to highlight content within the tweets. All hashtags and mentions can be given a colour highlight as well as specific instances of them.
- Finally, and in response to a relevant phrase or term, a whole tweet can be highlighted - or pulsed - to draw attention to an item of specific interest.
Very shortly I'll be making the AIR installer and code for TwitterHub publicly available.