How Does Twitter Know What’s Trending?

A trend on twitter is any hashtag-driven topic that gets popular within a period of time. It is any marketing departments dream come true if their hashtag starts trending or in other words gets popular on Twitter. Did you ever ponder over the fact on how these trends on twitter get started? Who or what chooses which stories should appear in the trending section, and why others get left out. Also ever wondered twitter trends are tailored. What you might see as trending might not encompass all that is trending in the world or even in your area. Trends are determined by an algorithm and are tailored to an individual, based on what they like, or who they follow, location etc…, although there would still be some topics which will appear in the trends section in spite of personalisation.
There are algorithms of twitter that are responsible for hashtags trending. These algorithms determine what is trending by observing and favouring spikes over any gradual sustained growth. For any topic to trend would need a combination of volume, the time taken to create that volume. So to put it simply, if a hashtag gains volume in one day it is considered as trending, but at the same time if the volume takes 30 days to accumulate, then it will be considered as news in general and not a spike.
If you want a hashtag created by you to trend, there are certain factors that can be practised to add to the volume. Be creative with the name of the hashtag, keep it simple with one objective, for example, if you want to create a Hashtag you need to drive one message, #standwithIndia is a better example than #standwithIndiancitizens.
Next thing is to make sure you get more than 500 tweets within the first hour, a point to remember is that not only the number of tweets is important, but it is equally important on how many individuals are tweeting.
To elaborate, common hashtags like #cat, #food, #music are very common and are tweeted every day, hence such hashtags might never start trending, however now if a totally different set of people start using these hashtags then there is a high possibility that they start trending.
So to conclude there are many factors that could push your hashtag trending on Twitter. It is Twitter’s trending algorithm eventually that finds topics that many people start tweeting at once. Like when there is noise about a particular launch of an album, television show, a natural calamity like an earthquake or a tsunami, or a death of a famous personality. At the same time, if a lot of people start tweeting about rain, it will never start trending as it is a common topic.
According to a study by HP labs, 31% of trending topics comes from retweets. 72% of those originate from 20 major news sources which are mostly based in the United States and the UK.
Like explained before, hashtags start trending if they haven’t been through the algorithm before, they might trend, then go off the grid and later start trending again if a totally different set of users discover the topic and start tweeting about it. The trending might not appear more than 40 minutes at a time, however, the trends on Twitter are considered as such prime spots for the marketing teams in general that a promoted space at the top runs at $120,000 per day.
Interesting thought!
To learn more about twitter trending algorithm watch this space until next week for the big news!

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