MultiTouch Multi-Useless Twitter Wall

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Perhaps the best exhibit for us at #ibc2010 back in September was the twitter wall on the Multitouch stand DS20 in Hall 9 and we meant to write about it (and it’s limitations) some more but unfortunately never got round to it.

MultiTouch’s twitter wall was brought to our attention once again this week however; initially when Dave Haynes tweeted Wednesday “Finnish co packages up buncha screens as MultiTouch Twitter Wall. Reaction: Why???” and prompted by that when we went in search of this week’s press release – that’s right, you visit an exhibitor at a show have your badge scanned, swop business cards with the marketing guys, chat with the Sales Director and you still don’t get press releases from said exhibitor!!

Anyway this week’s MultiTouch, Ltd. announcement, (they claim in their press release, we quote “the industry’s first large-scale multitouch, multi-user Twitter wall application”) makes much of “Moving Twitter Spheres Display Tweets in Real Time” to which we’d respond in pretty much the same way as Mr Haynes and also ask “Why?”

The big news for MultiTouch is that they will be supplying the Official 2011 International CES Twitter Wall which will be shown in Las Vegas, January 6-9, in the North Hall lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center (with the Consumer Electronics Association which will incorporate Twitter feeds from CES). That’s all good and indeed EVERY show should have some form of large twitter wall BUT as we should have pointed out after #ibc2010 this twitter wall is lacking so much functionality to be almost useless. It looks pretty but has no real functionality.

Back at #ibc2010 Hannu Anttila from Multitouch took us through a number of their systems including the twitter wall. It was good (and initially put together in less than 10 days for the show in Amsterdam) but was so obviously built by engineers with little or no involvement from any content or graphic design folks.

The MultiTouch Twitter Wall consists of (at least) six MultiTouch Cell 46 Advanced displays, 46 inches wide, in a 3 x 2 configuration that visually displays tweets from selected hashtags and keywords. Users of the MultiTouch Twitter Wall can open tweets, represented on a rotating sphere, by touching a profile image, moving, or resizing, the tweet on the display BUT that’s about it – yes that’s correct, that is all that a user can do!

The application is missing the display of statistics, graphs, tables and the such like – there is nothing seemingly collected and then presented back in real time about tweets and hashtag usage. That’s a fatal flaw for any twitter wall and something that could have been easily gleaned by looking at any (competitive) desktop, browser based or digital signage twitter wall.

There is no retweet functionality and there is no LIKE button to allow users at the wall to demonstrate that they like a tweet or thread (again, the engineers needed to simply get hold of a copy of something like FlipBoard to see what sort of functionality could be added in).

In the press release Petri Martikainen, CEO of MultiTouch Ltd. says “Social media and user-generated content are as much a part of the multitouch display experience as archival content, and the MultiTouch Twitter Wall enables greater access to the curated real-time media stream, in a tactile and enlightening way.” but he does not seem to actually understand social media or even screen design – the twitter wall does nothing with UGC except to allow many people to stand in front of a screen ad consume it and guess what? That’s not really UGC!

The interactivity that MultiTouch demonstrate, beyond moving and expanding a few spheres around is actually incredibly limited and once a user has played with the wall for a few minutes they soon run out of anything useful or sensible to do with it – let’s coin a new phrase perhaps and call it a ‘one-touch wonder(wall)‘.

Hell, there is not even an email capture facility or any mobile phone to wall interaction.

It’s great that MultiTouch have engineered this but it’s a real shame that they have not elicited any professional creative or content help in making this a truly useful solution.

One Response to “MultiTouch Multi-Useless Twitter Wall”

  1. oldsignguy Says:

    a beautiful example of technology seeking a public audience rather than the audience seeking a technology

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