Twitter Trending Topics: Just Another Avenue for Spam?

Twitter trending topics sidebar
Twitter trending topics sidebar

About three months ago, Twitter brought back trending topics and little advertisements in the sidebar of the Twitter home page. This was a way so that users could see what was going on in the world around them. For example, the launch of Endeavor and the death of Michael Jackson all made it to the trending topics.

Regrettably, that’s not all the fodder that’s been on the trending topics. Other pointless material such as “#moonfruit” (see this blog post) and “#swaptree” have also been present, as well as anything that you can think of. On some days, the trending topics are swamped by news headlines. On other days, they are clogged by random miscellany. People try crazy things to get their message on Twitter, including mass-retweeting and spreading rumors. Some people take advantage of trending topics and tweet messages like “follow me!!! #iranelection Michael Jackson MJ’s #thankyoumichael…” to advertise on the list and gain recognition.

I actually rely on trending topics as a source of news (for example “Happy Bastille Day”), but I hate it how random and pointless words clog up the list from time to time. I don’t wish Twitter to take down the trending topics, but rather to start plucking the spam from them and telling spam trending-topickers to stop spamming.