Trending is a feature on social media that highlights what topics are popular right now. It is important to stay up to date on what people are searching for, talking about and interested in so that you can create relevant content and engage your audience. Trending can also provide valuable insights into what people are discussing, thinking about and searching for, which can help you form new ideas for content or campaigns.

Trends are determined by algorithms created by the platform on which they appear. The algorithms take into account a user’s location, what they have liked or searched for previously and who they follow. In some cases, the trending list can be tailored even further to a user’s specific interests by including or excluding certain trends depending on their personal history.

Some of the most influential trends are current events or news stories that capture the interest and imagination of a large segment of the population. Whether it’s a celebrity scandal, natural disaster or political turmoil, these are the topics that tend to be shared, discussed and engaged with the most on social media. Other trends are related to pop culture or fads that quickly gain popularity.

Being a trending topic can be a huge boost for anyone who holds some sort of stake in the subject. Whether it’s a product launch (#iPhone7), a creative piece (#Kardashian) or shameless self-promotion (#Selfie), trending status can give your brand instant legitimacy and exposure.

Google’s Trends tool is a great way to see what people are searching for and talking about in real time. It is updated in the blink of an eye and gives you a unique insight into what’s going on in society, in the world or just in people’s minds at that moment in time. Journalists regularly use the trending tools to find interesting story ideas or to illustrate an overall level of interest in a particular event or issue.

YouTube has a dedicated Trending section that shows you the most popular videos in your country based on viewer engagement. It’s a great way to find inspiration for your next video or to see what types of videos are getting the most attention in your niche.

However, it’s easy to abuse trending and some of the most popular trends on Twitter are the result of deliberate manipulation by users. In some extreme cases, breaking Twitter’s rules on trending can lead to a user having their account suspended. Using unrelated hashtags and keywords to try and get your content to trend can also be seen as spam and may damage your reputation.