What does “Trending” mean?

What does “Trending” mean?
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Trending: A brief history

Before Social Networks came to prominence, “trending” was a concept unheard of. By my recollection, the closest thing was the word “trendy”, a word used by parents to unintentionally embarrass their children whilst buying clothes. If “trending” were in fruition in the 1990s, things such as Tamagotchi, the Spice Girls and the Macarena would be prime suspects. Are you getting the picture now? 

Popular topics

“Trending” topics originated on Twitter, although Google+ also provide a similar list of the most talked about subjects. Youtube also promote and elevate the most shared and most viewed videos in the world, whilst Facebook and Pinterest also promote the most popular news and images of the day. They are words essentially highlighting the most talked about and shared topics of the day, serving also as a platform for conversation about said topics. Trending topics in the present day tend to lean more towards sporting events, politics and music artists. Whether it be Justin Bieber’s new haircut or the Olympic Games, it’s sure to whip up a storm on social media. There are alternative uses of the “trending” function, though, for example, celebrities often encourage their fans and followers to use a particular hashtag to promote their new product, music album etc.


Hashtags are a huge component of the “trending” system, they are essentially keywords that enable Twitter users to search quickly for the relevant topic using one simple phrase. Once the hashtag has been searched for, a list is compiled of every tweet, post and share that contains the hashtag. Hashtags have also made their way over to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. The system remains relatively similar; the user searches for the hashtag they would like to use, a list of relevant posts is compiled and the user is free to browse these posts. Hashtags have real power, and are so accessible which enables people to use them for good, for example; the hashtag #BedForAwayFans trended on April 11th, 2017 in an effort to find travelling Monaco football supporters a bed to stay in overnight when their game against German outfit Borussia Dortmund was postponed.

To summarise

Trending is the name given to a topic or event that is being frequently talked about on social media. As for hashtags, they go hand in hand. One really is futile without the other, although trending topics are a thing, hashtags give them more reach.