Twitter quietly debuts one of its biggest social TV products to date

By Cory Bergman 

If your Twitter app has updated — and you know where to look — you’ll find “Trending Shows” highlighting upcoming TV shows that are driving the most activity on Twitter. It’s the most TV-centric second screen product Twitter has launched to date, and the focus on upcoming shows — complete with airtimes — is a distinction from Twitter’s usual trending fare.

Ok, first you have to find it. Head on over to the Discover tab, tap Trending and then scroll down beneath all those Twitter trending topics to find trending shows at the bottom.

The shows seem to be selected not just based on tweet activity, but also on the proximity of airtimes. At this writing, The X Factor, airing tonight at 8 p.m., sits at the top of the list with 42.5K tweets. Good Morning America follows next, which is airing on the West Coast and had already aired in the East. Notice that the GMA graphic says, “aired at 7 a.m.” It doesn’t appear that the trending shows are displayed based on a user’s past behavior (I don’t follow either show and haven’t tweeted about them.)

Underneath each show, there are two highlighted tweets, and you can tap the show to get the full list of the latest tweets about the show — the first time Twitter has carved out a dedicated second screen experience for TV. These tweets are filtered by a variety of criteria: show name, show abbreviation, show hashtags, responding to someone on the show, etc. It’s likely that Trendrr — Twitter’s latest social TV acquisition — is powering this part of the product.

Trending shows are buried in the app — and not available online — and Twitter barely mentioned it in a blog post about the new version. However, it’s a common technique to gauge the popularity of a new product by tucking it into a corner. If it works, Twitter could highlight trending shows more prominently in future versions.

We’ll be playing with the new addition in the days to come, and let us what you think of it so far…