Augmented Reality is becoming more prevalent in our day to day lives. If you’ve got the new iPhone X, you’ve likely played around with the AR features in there. But now, Twitter is getting into the game. TweetReality brings tweets, search, mentions, profiles and all of your favorite features and displays them neatly on a virtual screen. This is only available for iPhones and iPads though. Navigating this is a bit different, but it’s still pretty straightforward and fairly intuitive. You can still retweet, reply and “heart” status updates – the same way you would with the mobile app. The app itself isn’t exactly polished just yet, but the question I have is whether or not this is actually useful.
What does it do, exactly? In the promotional video, it turns the ordinary Twitter feed into a grid of cards that float in a half-sphere ahead of you. It looks like a big force field of tweets that you can only see through the camera feed. You can tap cards in order to interact with them. You can also type your own tweets. One user said that it is an “amazing way to get more involved with your Twitter timeline – literally”.
But is this really going to work? And is this even an effective use of AR? For me, AR is visual. Therefore I see it being used for things like games. Or things that are inherently visual. Not necessarily Twitter, as I don’t think of it visual terms. But maybe that’s just me? Some are saying that TweetReality on iOS looks like a proof of concept. They also suggest that it’s harder to use than regular twitter. Is there a benefit to this beyond a fun visual effect?
Oscar Falmer described his app as a prototype for future augmented reality headset apps. He states, “my goal was to innovate in what the future will look like, mainly by thinking to the upcoming glasses we’ll all probably be wearing”. Is that going to be the case though? I’m not disagreeing, but I wonder if that’s actually what the future will look like? I can see virtual reality becoming more engrained in our daily lives, but I don’t know that I see augmented reality in the same capacity. Do you?
Has TweetReality been designed in a way that will benefit Twitter users? I’m skeptical of that one. As I said, Twitter is information based. Not only that, but it’s information-dense. Twitter’s design allows you to scroll through a very high volume of information in a really quick manner. By contrast, TweetReality is a giant board with a lot of white space. It requires you to shift your attention across your entire field of view as you read, giving each tweet its own place on the board. It disrupts the news-ticker feel of Twitter. I’m not convinced that this is going to go anywhere, to be honest. Becuase of the visual nature of augmented reality, perhaps this would work better on a platform like Instagram?