There is a noticeable shortage of quality free Twitter apps for iOS, so it was surprising to stumble upon a freebie like Eddy. Unlike traditional timeline browsers, Eddy is a passive Twitter app which displays each incoming tweet, one-by-one in a full screen view.
If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. Eddy doesn’t even have a compose Tweet button, but it’s already my go-to background entertainment while working or watching TV.
Twitter is a noisy social network – it’s by far the most “disposable” of the big three. If you were to post on Facebook with the same frequency and abrupt nature you use on Twitter, there’s a good chance that most of your Facebook friends would hate you.
Eddy is an app that embraces the passive, disposable nature of Twitter by showing you a single tweet at a time. Launch it, authorise your Twitter account and watch it go – Eddy will load your feed and display the last five or so Tweets, before stalling on the most recent. Each time a new Tweet (or set of Tweets) arrives, the app will update.
The top-right corner is where you’ll find the retweet, favourite and share buttons, from which you can reply, quote retweet or view the Tweet in Safari. A compose Tweet button, while not exactly Eddy’s main purpose, would be a nice addition. Any images featured in Tweets are displayed automatically, though they are all formatted (and thus cut-off) for the iPad’s screen ratio precisely.
And that’s really it. It’s Twitter, except passive. You’re not actively checking it, but it’s only a glance away. You can swipe left-to-right to show Tweets that have already scrolled past, just in case you miss something. An iPad running Eddy coupled with a smart cover (or any tablet stand) makes an excellent accompaniment to your desk – particularly as Eddy uses coloured backgrounds.
From what I can gather, the background of each Tweet is the most “dominant” colour in a user’s display picture (though it may have something to do with cover shots too). The movement of an incoming Tweet, in addition to the changing of the background colour, provides just enough of a distraction in the corner of your eye to notify you there’s something new to look at.
Searches, Hashtags & More
When new Tweets arrive, Eddy lets you know by adding a button with a number at the top of the screen. Tapping this at any point advances the reader to the end of your feed, and shows the most recent Tweet. This feature is particularly handy when you’re using another of Eddy’s features – the ability to show tweets from a list, hashtag, search or user mention.
I’ve taken to using Eddy to follow hashtags for live sport and TV shows, and this button is useful for those times when the volume of incoming Tweets is so high that Eddy will never reach the end of the feed. Hashtags are only one of many uses though, and Eddy can display @user mentions (simply by searching for the handle) general search queries, Tweets from a specific list (great for news or weather alerts) and any searches saved to your Twitter account.
Once you’ve set the app up exactly as you want it, you can even use your iPad or iPhone’s AirPlay feature to mirror the app to a big-screen TV, projector or a Mac or PC – a perfect use for that old iOS device that’s just sitting in a drawer.
The best thing about Eddy is that there’s always something new to look at whenever you glance up from whatever you were doing.
Alternatives to Eddy
Eddy does one very basic thing, so it’s unsurprising that similar apps exist. Eddy was introduced as a free app in May 2013, before which only Ticker for Twitter ($2.99) existed. This premium app does much of what Eddy does, including displaying Tweets one-by-one, from a multitude of sources.
Ticker for Twitter also introduces a few other features absent here, including that elusive compose Tweet button, different themes, integration with the fantastic Tweetbot and more. The app also looks a little more polished from a UI point of view, and pulls in additional details like location information (which it translates into weather info) from Tweets.
Another similar app is Screenfeeder (free), which performs a similar task but extends to other social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, paid App.net accounts and Dribbble. Unfortunately the app hasn’t had an update since May of last year, and double unfortunately, the app requires an in-app purchase to unlock its full functionality.
For all its limitations, Eddy and its free price tag, beautiful UI and infinite use cases is as good as any passive Twitter client for iPad or iPhone. A compose Tweet button and the ability to define how quick the app scrolls are the only two things really missing, and even those aren’t deal-breakers.
Download: Eddy for Twitter (Free, universal)
Do the passive Twitter thing? Let us know, actively, in the comments below.