Trending Nonsense


Does anyone who is even remotely sane follow the trending topics by looking at the actual responses anymore. My basic issue is this:

  1. You see a trending topic;
  2. You open the link to view;
  3. You read the first few replies and realise at least two of them are retweets;
  4. You look up and notice at least 20 new tweets have been added in the time it took you to read three;
  5. You try to make a tweet, but your words are lost in the miasma of retweets, inane comments, WTFs etc.;
  6. You give up on looking…

So I do not understand why anyone bothers with them at all. What do people get by making something trend. Okay I know that things will trend just by being mentioned, but a lot of people make them trend by insisting on using the # (which is fine to use), or by using the appropriate keyword that is trending. We all have at least some mastery of English, it is easy not to use the word and avoid trending the inane.

Basically trending topics give analysts an idea of the public consciousness, apparently, and I say ‘apparently’  as I have noticed that they in fact are not the zeitgeist of the modern persona but an inflation of a small section. Take, for example, that during the coverage of the Earthquake near Japan one of the trending topics was PearlHarbour. The tweets were split between the offensive “this is revenge/karma for Pearl Harbour”, to the angry “how can people compare this to Pearl Harbour” and the various millions who retweeted. It made it look as if this was a hot topic of division.

It wasn’t really, it was mostly over-reaction from both sides leading to a spurious heated exchange lost in the wealth of pointless retweets and insults. The trending topic is the new internet flame war, Twitter allows us to vent our spleen in much tidier packages that can distill the essence of our bile and render ineffective any viewpoint we have.

How can we analyse and debate anything in a mere 140 characters. Twitter is a great tool for an instant thought, or linking something of importance, but it is nano-blogging, there is no scope for reflection.

The trending topic has become a parody, it no longer shows the pattern of public feeling, more the shoaling of minnows with little voice. Yes, from a distance a lot of shouting may appear to be a great tide of opinion, but when all they are doing is chanting to a tune you realise it is just an audience at a spectator sport.

“You’re shit and you know you are” (endless repeat)
“Who’s the b*stard in the black” (and many other varieties)
“We’re all bald impotent w*nkers with girlfriends who remain sexually unfulfilled” (truthful option)



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