Facebook hijacks Trending feature from rival Twitter

Social network tries to grab some immediacy from Twitter with new feature

Taking another page from social rival Twitter, Facebook is launching a new Trending feature that will show users the most popular topics being discussed on the social network.

The feature, which begins rolling out to users today, will list a series of topics that are spiking in popularity on Facebook. The list will appear in the top right of users' news feeds.

Trending is yet another move in Facebook's plan to supplant Twitter as the social network people rush to when something of high interest -- like the Golden Globe awards, a natural disaster or a significant crime - is happening.

Facebook may be the largest social network, but Twitter has the edge on its rival in one specific area -- immediacy.

Twitter dominates in real-time discussions about high interest events, so if users want to comment on the dress an actress is wearing at an awards event, they'll turn to Twitter. The same goes for users who want to support a political candidate or mock something one of them said during a live debate.

When a national or international event happens, Twitter lights up with activity. It's the site people turn to when they want to vent, comment or check out everyone else's reaction.

Facebook wants a piece of that action.

Last year, Facebook started to roll out Twitter-like hashtags and began testing Trending Topics, which tracks what users are talking about most on the site.

That Trending feature has officially gone live.

"Facebook is a space where people from all over the world gather every day to share their thoughts and participate in real-time conversations, from the highlights of the Golden Globes to the passing of Nelson Mandela," wrote Chris Struhar, an engineering manager at Facebook, in a blog post. "Today we're announcing Trending, a new product that's designed to surface interesting and relevant conversations in order to help you discover the best content from all across Facebook."

Struhar noted that the Trending results will be personalized to each user's interests.

"Each topic is accompanied by a headline that briefly explains why it is trending," he added. "You can click on any headline to see the most interesting posts from your friends or pages that are talking about that particular topic."

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said giving users information about Trending topics is a key step for Facebook to meet its larger goal of becoming the leading hub for online news and events.

"Having it as part of the Facebook homepage means users of Facebook don't need to switch to Google or Twitter," he said. "I do think it's a smart and, in some ways, a mandatory move if Facebook is to truly be the top dog in disseminating news."

There could be a problem however if Facebook users see an interesting Trending topic and then switch over to Twitter to get in on the conversation there.

That could be a dilemma since Facebook has lacked a sense of immediacy about current events, said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Current Analysis. He also noted that Facebook is wise to keep adding features to keep the site fresh.

Facebook is working on moving the feature to mobile.

This article, Facebook hijacks Trending feature from rival Twitter, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Why 2017 will herald a resurgence of values-based marketing

It doesn’t take long for predictions to become predictable: The rise and rise of Facebook; advancements in analytics; the normalisation of chatbots; personalisation, programmatic, automation, authenticity… The prediction that’s missing from these lists is that in 2017 we will witness a resurgence of values-based marketing.

Jacqueline Burns

Founder, Market Expertise

Why customer experience driven growth is set to take off

Our overall brand perceptions are invariably shaped by our experiences. And loyal customer relationships can be severed in moments by a negative service interaction.

Consistency and conversation: How branding and advertising can work better together

Advertising and branding are two of the most visible outputs of marketing, which is why getting them right is so important. However, too often the line between branding and advertising becomes blurred. This means advertising activity can be out of sync with brand, resulting in poor results for both functions.

Dan Ratner

managing director, uberbrand

Someone needs a swift kick up the bum for such an idiotic idea.

random

​Why a degree is no longer enough to get you hired as a skilled marketer

Read more

The frequent flyer programs are the new profit machines for airlines all over the world, as they have morphed to be mass marketing machin...

Steve@iFLYflat

Velocity frequent flyers program strong performer in mixed half-year for Virgin

Read more

Hi Jennifer, thanks for sharing these info regarding the digital marketing trends.I've created a related video to this topic, would you m...

Fabio Carry

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Great news. Marketing automation can be very useful for companies at various stages of development. With so many tools out there it's bet...

Ben

How HBF rolled out marketing automation in eight months

Read more

I read a report that the business sector in Australia as a whole have yet to fully harness and see the proactive change that predictive a...

Alex Martin

Report: Predictive analytics, IoT, machine learning battle it out for marketing dollars

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in