Now You Can Watch Twitter On Apple TV

Know You Meme Business With Apple TV

Watch Your Social Life on Apple TV.

Have you ever wanted to see what is being discussed on Twitter in a local area? Have you ever been curious to see how a Twitter meme spreads itself worldwide? Or are you just a little curious about where the people you follow on the service happen to be? All these questions can be answered in glorious detail on your television set with this interesting new Apple TV app, which takes your Twitter feed and puts it – literally and beautifully – on the map.

Introducing Avian

Avian is a new map-based app for Apple TV that places Twitter content on an animated global map. The app was awarded third prize in the Apple TV App Challenge, an international contest for pre-release Apple TV apps sponsored by AppLovin. It was selected from among ten shortlisted finalists, by a panel of Silicon Valley industry judges at a special event in San Francisco.

When you use the app you can choose a subject or hashtag you are interested and watch as Tweets emerge from around the world, or define activity to a particular location. You can also choose to look at the Twitterverse from outer space just by switching to satellite view. You won’t be able to place Tweets when the Twitter user doesn’t choose to share their location, of course, but as new messages on your chosen topic appear the map will zoom right down into their location.

Tweets will be collected from everywhere using keywords that you select. Just access the section by selecting your Menu button or swiping to the right with your Siri remote touchpad. You can choose to show Tweets from everyone, or just selected people; and define search terms, area and map style, though some features require a one-off $1.99 fee. Despite the fee, the app is otherwise free to download.

Why it works

What’s great about Avian is that it puts a little more context around your Tweets. I can’t really imagine anyone would want to monitor their entire Twitter feed on their TV screen, at least, not unless it was presented as a sidebar to the main content. What works is that by placing Tweets on a map of the world, you as a user can become suddenly engaged in watching how thoughts and ideas spread using the social network. “With a beautiful map display and tweets tailored to your keywords, this is a terrific backdrop for your television,” wrote AppAdvice’s Sandy Stachowiak.

This level of engagement is hard to create on a smaller display, but it could potentially make sense on iPads, which is potentially part of the company’s app development roadmap, though no one from the firm has made any such claim.

It would be easy to dismiss the app as a little gimmicky, but that would be short-sighted, of course the app is going to be of some value to casual Twitter users wanting to track a news item, meme or reaction to events, but it’s going to be of even more use to customer service reps, digital marketing agencies or anyone in the business of online reputation management.

What’s missing?

There are perhaps two things I’d like to see added to the app:

  • Recording: I think it would be valuable to be able to record short bursts of Twitter activity overlaid on the Map. I think professional users would find this extremely useful, though you given the lack of available storage on Apple TV these clips would likely need to be hosted in the cloud.
  • Historical setting: Another feature that could be incredibly cool would be a time in order that Avian users would be able to access feeds concerning previous events and watch how these proliferated in real-time. I think this could be interesting to casual and pro users alike.

Avian was only one of the winners in AppLovin’s Apple TV apps challenge, other winners included:

The first two titles aren’t expected to ship through the App Store until later on this year.