Earlier this morning I noticed an article appear in my news feed from the Guardian Facebook reader app described as ‘Trending’. I’ve long thought of Guardian as one the earliest of traditional news sources to truly ‘get’ Social Media. Whilst other publications seem to be concerning themselves with ‘trolls’ The Guardian seems to be getting behind the user-centric culture found on Social Media platforms.
One of my problems with the phrase ‘Trending’ is the perceived importance of it. To get a video trending could result in a singing career such as Justin Bieber, to get a topic on Twitter trending can inform millions what’s really going on from an unbiased of view, to go ‘viral’ seems to be aim of every content marketer whether their idea is in the interest of the public or not
For me a Twitter trending topic is about as useful as #oneofthese. What matters to me is what my peers (the people I have selected to connect with) recommend to me, on the basis that I trust them and share some interests and maybe sense of taste with. In this example one trusted friend reading an article is infinitely more valuable than what 24 million Gaga followers are saying today.
Maybe ‘trending’ is a confused term – it’s been charged with reflecting the natural behaviour of Social Media users, but by simply ‘existing’ it lies open to manipulation. The beauty of the internet and Social Media is that what may be interesting to the masses (like it used to be on radio and television) isn’t necessarily what interests the individual. The Guardian Facebook App is doing a great job at keeping individuals at the heart of what they do on Social Media, and keeping readers engaged with the news.
Which we could argue that either by paper or pixels, that is exactly what they should be doing.