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The Tricks of Twitter Trending


I’ve always been intrigued by the Twitter trending topics, although I rarely participate in them. I’m not really in the demographic for #bieberfan but I do like a good #FF!

After participating in a recent online Twitter chat, with what seemed like a ton of users tweeting at once, I wondered exactly how many tweets is does it take to get to the center of a Twitter trend?

It’s not as easy as you’d think. You can’t just post a hashtag repeatedly in your own tweets every second and hope that it trends. The trend depends on a vast number of people tweeting at the same time – not just you and your friends.

Buzzgain did some analysis about the number of users and tweets during various times and came to this conclusion (times in PST):

  • From 12:00 am – 6:00 am you need approximately 1200 tweets and about 500 users to be trending.
  • From 6:00 am to 12:00 pm you need approximately 1700 tweets and about 733 users to be trending.
  • From 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm you need approximately 1500 tweets and about 812 users to be trending.
  • From 6:00 pm to 12:00 am you need approximately 1900 tweets and about 922 users to be trending.

What items tend to trend faster?

  • Topics pushed by users with a ton of followers. This makes the topic easier to distribute.
  • Topics based on breaking news. This doesn’t have to be a national disaster – it could be a new technology release or a celebrity break up.
  • Topics that are expected. #musicmonday, #followfriday, etc.

Did you know that BlogWorld helped set a Twitter record and trending topic?

During the BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2009, there was an effort to tweet #BeatCancer as a fundraiser for four cancer-related organizations — Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Bright Pink, Spirit Jump, and Stand Up for Cancer.

The effort took off quickly, showing up as the #1 trending topic. During the 24-hour period from October 16 to October 17, the phrase was mentioned more than 209,000 times (verified and documented by Guinness!) And over $70,000 was raised.

Want to see past trends? Visit trendistic for a cool chart view!

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

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