Twitters tailored trends- don’t get caught out

12 June was a great day, it was my 7th 8th wedding anniversary. It was also a day that twitter made a subtle but wide reaching adjustment to how users see trending topics.

Prior to 12 June, trending topics were discerned by geographical location- trending topics in the UK, in the USA or wherever.

After my wedding anniversary, the default is now something referred to as “tailored” trending. This still uses your location but focuses on what is popular between you and your followers. The idea behind it is to show users things that might be of more specific interest to them but as a by-product people are getting confused about how popular fairly niche topics are.

So for example, if you’re at a parent blogging conference and you’re followers are all talking about it, then it will appear at the top of your trending list. It doesn’t mean that the topic is trending in the conventional sense though, personalised trending will sometimes just show you what’s popular with the circle of people who are directly involved in something.

A good example of this is the #britmums live hashtag. It looks like it’s trending but that’s only because all the parent bloggers I follow are going to it- heck, I’m off to their BiB awards this evening, so I’m interested to a degree. But if you reset the trending parameters to UK, it’s not even on the list:

lots of overlap but spot the difference!

So tailored trends are better thought of as a snapshot of what your wider circle of twitter chums are talking about, rather than a proper view of whats popular country-wide.