Twitter let me know friends are talking about a TV show. What does it mean?

This morning I received this notification from Twitter:


While Neil and Tony were in fact talking about Grey’s Anatomy first thing in the morning (strange? yes, but that’s not what this post is about) it wasn’t relevant to anything happening on Grey’s Anatomy on TV right now (also, I could personally care less about GA, which made it even stranger to get pinged about it). I did a little digging to see if these have been around awhile and couldn’t find anything so I’m going to assume they’re something new/being tested (if I’m wrong, holler at me and I’ll update)

As we know, Twitter has become absolutely indispensable - for many, it’s the 1st screen - for live events (Breaking News, Sports, Awards Ceremonies, etc.) but in order to benefit from and participate in the discourse, you need to get there in the first place which is why notifications are so important for the company (< great piece by BuzzFeed’s John Herrman on why). It’s why they’ve been cranking up awesome experiments like @eventparrot and @magicrecs

After Twitter shipped their update earlier this week, I had a quick exchange with Matthew Panzarino about the possibilities the new Timeline UI enables and what they could potentially do with dynamic timelines based on real-time TV, Sports, etc. as well as how they could pull you into them:


It’s one thing to be pulled into the app because “something is happening in the world” but it’s much more enticing to know “…and your friends are here talking about it.” Perhaps there’s some other reason I got that notification this morning (after all, I do have the obscure Other toggled in Twitter’s Notifications Settings) but I can certainly imagine how seeing that people you know are talking about a thing you’re potentially interested in (Miley going off at the VMAs, a crazy comeback in the Pats game, the World Cup Draw, etc.) being a very compelling way to pull you into the app. Finally, since Twitter has a pretty great idea of what I’m interested in, they could also use that to fine tune when and about what they try and get my attention.  

Update: @kroosh passed along an article detailing Twitter’s ability to target ads based on conversations are TV shows. This seems to be leveraging the same tech but geared towards pushing user engagement. 



  1. projectvermeer reblogged this from alexrainert and added:
    Push notifications are terrific for engagement, and one of the main advantages of apps over mobile web (in the...
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  3. robertfrupp reblogged this from alexrainert and added:
    Cool article from today about the most recent UI update to Twitter. Crazy to think that they might...
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