HP UK : Streaming cold

Poor integration of a Twitter feed leaves comments frozen.

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The Site

HP UK, a country division of US-based IT company Hewlett-Packard (HP), appeared not fully conversant with Twitter feed technology in a recent ‘live’ presentation. HP’s UK arm presented a live video stream on 3 April of a charity concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. The live stream was broadcast via HP UK’s YouTube channel and was accompanied by a left-of-screen column containing tweets about the event that featured the #HPLive selector.The Twitter feed did not update automatically. Instead the column content stayed static, only revealing the most recent tweets if the viewer refreshed the entire page. Tweets displayed as having been created ‘about a minute ago’ could, as a consequence, be far older than that.

The Takeaway

In providing a Twitter feed that was static until refreshed, HP’s YouTube stream of the Teenage Cancer Trust event failed to take full advantage of the medium. It also managed, by extension, to look less at home with the technology than viewers would expect. Allowing engagement with live events in progress by displaying the stream of comment on Twitter is an idea that has been executed successfully by many companies recently (see, for example, BC Tip 854). The concept does, however, rely almost exclusively on the advantages of the Twitter platform – namely the instant and responsive nature of its 140-character updates – being fully exploited. HP viewers were instead presented with an unchanging feed that was only updated if the page was refreshed – a task most would be very unlikely to interrupt their viewing to perform. Whether the problem lay with HP’s management of its channel, or with a broader issue with the YouTube platform, the result is that the company’s use of Twitter in conjunction with the event appeared flawed and will have left many users under-impressed by its command of the technology.

First published 10 April, 2012
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