Trending is the process by which social media platforms identify topics that are receiving a high volume of likes, comments, shares, and searches. These trends are then displayed in the “Trending” section on Twitter and Facebook and sometimes TikTok’s homepage (known as FYP). Trending is a result of algorithms that analyze data to determine what people are discussing and interested in on each platform.

The trending process can be a tool for brands, influencers, and individuals to get more visibility on their content, which can lead to increased engagement, followers, and brand awareness. Additionally, trends can highlight important events and causes that would not otherwise be highlighted.

However, the nature of a trend is based on a subjective level of interest, and it can be manipulated by those with an agenda to gain popularity and amplify their messages. It is also prone to errors and misinterpretations, as demonstrated by the use of the hashtag #SanBernadino on Twitter during the shootings in California. The erroneous spelling split the audience and caused two different trends to emerge for the same event at the same time.

It is not uncommon for some to question the authenticity of trends, but a popular trend can be an indication that a topic has become mainstream enough for discussion and debate. Trends can also be useful for journalists and other content creators to see what people are discussing in real-time. They can then delve deeper into the topic or subject matter and produce content that resonates with their audiences.

Trends can also be used to predict what might be popular in the future, such as a celebrity resurgence or an upcoming movie release. Using predictive analytics, marketers can make informed marketing decisions that can lead to increased engagement and ROI.

As a tool for consumers, trend analysis can help inform their purchasing decisions, whether it is what clothes to buy or what movies to watch. The same can be applied to business decision-making, as investors look at the trends in a company’s stock value to determine its future potential.

In the realm of online content creation, many YouTube and Instagram users are keen to have their videos or channels trend on these platforms. Trending can bring in additional views and a larger audience for creators, which is why some are incredibly upset to find that their content hasn’t made the list. YouTube executives have assured creators that they are very careful about what videos end up on Trending, ensuring they don’t contain profanity or mature content. This is in addition to a number of other criteria that YouTube uses when selecting trends for the section, including location, who a user follows, and their previous search history. However, some creators believe that the threshold is too high, especially for smaller channels.