Trending is a term used to describe the topics that are currently popular on social media. Usually, these topics are related to current events or news, but they can also be pop culture, sports, television shows and even memes. Trends can be seen on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Some trends are predictable, such as new movie trailers or songs by famous musicians. Others are less predictable, like controversies or political events. Getting on the trending list can help businesses gain visibility among their target audience. But it’s important to understand how trends are created and how you can use them to your advantage.
Trends are based on the number of times a topic is searched for by users. The more people search for a certain topic, the higher it appears on the trending list. In addition, the trending algorithm takes into account geographic and demographic data, indicating whether searches are local or global, and what type of content is being sought (news, science, technology, etc.).
In order to appear on the trending list, a topic must have at least 100 searches in the past 24 hours. The top 10 trending topics are displayed in a sidebar on the Twitter homepage. Trends are categorized by category and can be filtered by country, time period and specific keywords or hashtags. Twitter has tried to prevent abuse of the feature by adjusting the algorithm that determines what trends, but it’s still possible to manipulate the list to promote unrelated topics.
One example of this is the #EndFathersDay hashtag that promoted self-harm in 2013. Another example was a campaign organized by 4chan that got a hashtag supporting a Boston Marathon bomber to trend worldwide in 2014. More recently, Black feminists and gamers have been able to manipulate trends to support their causes.
The same is true for YouTube’s trending video section, where one recent example was a video claiming that a Parkland shooting victim was a crisis actor. The company has acknowledged that it needs to do more to stop the trending of offensive or misleading videos, but the problem persists.
While it’s difficult to predict what will be a trend, companies should have a strategy for capitalizing on the feature when it makes sense for their business. For instance, if a hashtag is being abused to promote something off-brand, the business can encourage its followers to tweet about it by providing the hashtag, the goal of the campaign and a short list of suggested messages. This can help avoid abuse of the feature and keep the business relevant to its followers. Also, a business should never try to get itself on the trending list by using unrelated keywords or hashtags to artificially boost visibility. This can cause controversy, draw ire from Twitter and, in extreme cases, result in account suspension.