Information overload might feel less onerous if we spread it around. Why should our eyes and fingers do so much of the work of inundating our brains with torrents of information?
Our ears can chip in. Social Radio for Twitter, an iOS app temporarily available for free, reads your Twitter feed to you along with your music.
It sounds like a gimmick, and maybe it is. But this app’s versatility and attention to detail make it something you might actually want to use, in addition to being an interesting development on the digital music scene.
Fire up The Social Radio for Twitter, enter your Twitter account details, and the app picks a random track from your iPhone’s music collection and starts playing it, as it reads your Twitter feed with the music playing at reduced volume. In between tweets (or if you don’t have any new ones), the music returns to its full volume.
You don’t have to listen to a random song, either, although it’s helpful that the app starts with one so that you get the concept. In fact, the music options are pretty great. You can listen to any music on your iPhone or your Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, TuneIn, SoundCloud, or Last.fm account, or any other music app on your phone.
Basically, wherever music is playing on your phone, Social Radio for Twitter can turn it down while it reads your tweets, giving you a great range of options for listening while staying informed, with automated text-to-speech voices that switch between male and female.
I’ve been on the lookout for something like this, which will let me listen to music all day, while using my ears as a delivery pathway for non-musical information — news, email, tweets, calendar, weather, train schedules, and so on. The Social Radio for Twitter is not perfect — it mispronounces some things, pronounces “RT” as “artee” instead of “retweet,” and makes other blunders from time to time.
Also, it might need another pause button; clicking the one in the app stops it from reading tweets, but in order to pause the music too, you need to tap all the way through into whatever app you’re listening to, which can take a while. And we found it a little frustrating that there’s no way to click on a link you hear through the app in order to hear more — or at least tag the tweet to follow up on later.
In addition to trundling through your main feed, you can also listen to any real-time Twitter search, your saved searches, worldwide or regional trends, or your Twitter lists. Regardless of what you’re listening to, you can do it either with your headphones or wirelessly, with any AirPlay-compatible device.
“You have new tweets — time to listen.”
We have to go. Enjoy!