Trending Topics on Twitter

Twitter Trends - The Anti-Social MediaI recently started paying more attention to the trending topics section on Twitter. Somehow, I forgot how awful the trending topics are.

Trending topics have all the benefits of giving yourself a lobotomy. However, they come without the high price or inherent danger of performing a clumsy self-surgery on your brain. They somehow manage to combine the absolute worst in ideas, writing, and respect for other human beings in less than 140 characters.

It takes serious effort to be that consistently bad.

Let’s take a trend from last week and use it as an example: #iusetothink

This trend would be fine if people used it correctly. We would see a bunch of people saying “A good workout #iusetothink” or “A walk with the dog #iusetothink.” But no, that would be too obvious and would assume that people understood basic tense agreement.

Instead, we have a bunch of people saying things that they USED to think. This trend has caught on so much that even brands, whose community managers should know better, used the hashtag in a desperate attempt to stay out of touch and in front of an audience. It makes brands look dumb.

Marketers - based on this example, we can assume that the audience for promoted trends doesn’t even understand the basics of grammar. Do you honestly believe that the people who share trending topics will grasp your weird promoted trend and be able to help you accomplish your business goals?

This is why Twitter’s trending topics fail so miserably. Putting some funky hashtagged term in the face of hundreds of millions of Twitter users does not mean an instant success. You can’t target if you’re getting the brightest people, or those who need to go back to grammar school. And both of those groups will find a way to twist your message around in ways you never expected.

So avoid giving yourself the stress and brain damage and just avoid trending topics. Your brain cells will thank me later.

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5 Responses to “Trending Topics on Twitter”

  1. Sandra January 30, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Well, it works for those who work in teenage industry. Bieber, for example, is a trending topic every couple of days.

    But I agree that one should avoid it in order to preserve brain cells.

  2. Morgan January 30, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Yeah I really don’t like using twitter trends for me or any of the clients I represent. I may use it in jest, but not to represent a company.

    But honestly, I really don’t care about twitter trends, anymore. The things that trend are usually either really stupid or really obscure.

    I have never heard of any brand using twitter trends and suddenly get a huge increase in fans; there are WAY too many people using the trend to keep up with the tweets coming in, let along with trying to follow the people who have a clever tweet.

    I agree, about the avoiding part.

  3. Jan Minihane (@JanMinihane) January 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Now here’s a post McDonald’s could have done with reading last week….. ;-)

    I just find using trending topics a bit, well, desperate - I’ve seen people deliberately put out tweets that mention all trending topics, one by one, I assume in the vain hope of picking up some ‘quality’ followers.

    I think if the odd one is directly relevant to your business, the maybe, maybe there is a bit of mileage. Otherwise, avoid :-)

  4. ConfessionsMom February 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I’d have to agree that trending topics don’t provide much in the way of solid marketing tactics. Idiotic hashtags don’t do much for me either. Although I have to admit quick glances at trending topics has clued me in a few times on breaking news I hadn’t heard about yet. I also find that setting trending topics to a smaller geographic location can uncover (although rarely) more local topics/events being tweeted about. It’s like winning the lottery though. Isn’t KLOUT basically an algorithm to figure out each person’s trending topics on Twitter? Not really sure that’s relevant either, although it’s a totally different topic…


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