Twitter is experimenting with a new mechanism to point members to must-see television.
The social network is inserting a "Trending" box into some members' timelines to showcase television shows that people are talking about en masse.
The trending-on-TV insert was spotted by Twitter user Anthony Geranio (@asg) Tuesday evening. The box includes a scrollable collection of hot-right-now television shows. Each included show is featured with cover art, the original airtime and channel, the episode number, and the number of tweets about it. People can click on a show to view related Twitter accounts and tweets.
told TechCrunch that he spotted the trending box in the tweet timeline inside the iOS application. The box flows down as you scroll through the timeline, but is bumped back up when a show gets an influx of tweets, he said.
Twitter declined to comment on the feature. The company has been known to experiment with variations in designs with a small group of users, which means we'll likely only see the trending TV box make it to the masses if it significantly influences member behavior.
Twitter could be testing the feature as a supplemental add-on for its advertisers. "It seems that the shows currently featured there aren't just based on what's trending," Geranio told CNET. He suspects that some of the featured "trending" content is coming from Twitter advertisers.
Regardless, the feature fits in nicely with Twitter's ambitions to amplify its tie-ins with live television broadcasts and court prime-time advertisers. There is evidence to suggest that a flurry of tweets can boost television ratings, so Twitter is likely testing whether it can use the TV trending entity to push more people to tune in to live broadcasts.
Update, 12:20 p.m. PT: With statements from Geranio.