How Did Trending Topics Begin and How Do They Spread Around The World?

2 Mins read

If you are a social media user, then it’s likely you will have come across the term ‘trending topics’, often abbreviated to ‘TT’. You may even have searched through them sometimes out of casual interest. But what exactly are trending topics, when did they begin, and how do they spread around the world?

What are trending topics?

A trending topic is essentially a topic that sees a sudden burst of popularity on one or more social media platforms. This surge is caused by numerous people talking about the topic in question, often a political event, natural disaster, popular programme, celebrity appearance, worldwide occurrence, or the death of someone famous. They often do not trend for long—often less than 48 hours—and then they will be replaced by something else that interests the online community.

Trending topics are often preceded by a hash symbol to create a hashtag. This helps the social media platform to sort through data quickly and efficiently, using an algorithm, to create trending topic lists.

This list can also be refined and filtered to match your personal interests or that of your industry or brand. This makes it a unique and powerful marketing tool in the making. It can give you an excellent insight into what your audience feels passionately about, and how best to connect with them. With 4.59 billion users worldwide, social media is also a brilliant way to reach an enormous amount of people in a minimum amount of time. It’s no wonder that a recent report by Statista highlighted that companies are likely to spend $200bn on social media advertising by 2024.

How did trending topics begin?

A very rudimental version of trending topics existed in the early days of social media and was used to help people join discussions that might interest them. In fact, even pre-social media, certain newsgroups, and forums were trying to group popular topics of interest together to help people find the conversations they wanted to join. These early versions of the feature were very basic and didn’t offer the same flexibility as they do today. Much of the searching was basic, even manual.

Nowadays, the trending topics feature on any social platform uses a highly sophisticated algorithm that will take into consideration many things including how many people are talking about a subject, how often they are talking about it, and for how long.

How do trending topics spread around the world?

If something trends worldwide, it is often said that the topic has gone viral.

To go viral, it’s important that you can share your post with a lot of people and that a lot of those people then choose to share your post. It’s also vital that this process happens quickly, as most algorithms look for a spike in interest, rather than a gradual build-up.

Due to the competitive nature of social media and the level of content available on it, it is often not easy to achieve viral status. As such, when trying to get something trending for your brand worldwide or when trying to target your message to a certain group of people, it is often best to hire a company like Pulsar to help you achieve the best for your company.  This will take away a lot of stress, improve your company’s chance of success, and also prevent your team from wasting valuable time trying to achieve results.

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