Trending topics – are they relevant?


On a number of occasions, I have stated that I want to see #BrainTumorThursday trend on Twitter,  Toward that end, I have been trying to understand how topics trend and then thinking about how to apply that understanding to  #BrainTumorThursday.  Unfortunately, I have hit what I view to be a major roadblock.

Before I started this project, I was not aware that the coverage of the trend box can be changed by clicking “change” in the Trends box.  For example, the trends displayed can be for specific locations, from worldwide to country specific to city specific.  Your selection of the coverage area for the trends displayed can make drastic differences in what you see.  For example, looking at trends when writing this post, the trends for the UK were virtually identical, with Halloween and London topping the trending list for both.  In contrast, the top topic in the US was #blessed and Halloween was completely missing from the list.  The worldwide list was wildly different, essentially reflecting no overlap with the the trending list for the UK and the US.  Moreover, the passage of 10 minutes can render a list completely; in this case, Halloween, which was previously missing from the US list, became #1, while the former top topic dropped to #4.  There are other ways to customize the trends box and Twitter has published FAQs about Trends on Twitter, which provides more information.

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Therein lies the fundamental issue.  In theory, #BrainTumorThursday could trend in Australia, but nowhere else.  Or, it could trend in a smaller city in the UK, but not in the UK itself.  Then, even if it were to trend somewhere, it could be easily be missed due to rapid changes in trending lists.

My conclusion of all this is that, even if we were to employ strategies to get #BrainTumorThursday, it might only be in one area and we may never know that it happened.  In short, the logical conclusion and answer to the question posed in the title to this post is: Whether a topic becomes trending or not is irrelevant.  This means that my “dream” is unrealistic and would have meant little had it been accomplished.  Time to find another dream for #BrainTumorThursday..

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