Why I Wish Twitter Would Get Rid Of It's Trending List

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 some people have gotten together to mass-tweet a fake tweet that Lady Gaga is dead. Nearly every days tweeters are making someone's fake death trend.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 some people have gotten together to mass-tweet a fake tweet that Lady Gaga is dead. Nearly every days tweeters are making someone's fake death trend.

Abusing the Trending List

I'm assuming the Twitter Trending List was originally conceived to keep track of what topics were currently trending. Unfortunately, because users have gotten together to manufacture fake trends, it really no longer represents an accurate list of what genuinely is trending and what some group of people are spending their time retweeting over and over again to make it a trend on the Trending List.

In the picture above some people on Twitter have gotten together to make a fake trend that Lady Gaga is dead. Thankfully, she isn't. This is a common occurrence on the Trending List. It's gotten so bad that when Whitney Houston's death was trending, I thought it was another fake trend and had to go and do some research on the Internet to find out if it was true. I checked TV Guide Online, first, and when they had nothing about it, I was sure it was another fake death trend these people get their jollies trending about. Then I went over to TMZ and saw it was true. But it's pretty bad that when someone's death is trending you can't be sure if it's true or some Twitter sickies trending someone's fake death.

And it isn't just the fake death trends. There's also been some very ugly trends that a certain section of people have trended Insulting stereotypical trends about people who are African-American, people who are gay, people that are over-weight; you name it and if it's ugly, some sickies on Twitter are getting it to trend.

Fans of TV shows, primarily it seems The Vampire Diaries, spend a lot of their times making fake trends appear on the trending list. Generally, it seems to be the Stefan/Stefan and Elena fans vs. the Damon/Damon and Elena fans. They use the fake trends as part of their shipping wars. One day they managed to get five different trends to trend on the list and a few were declaring that The Vampire Diaries fans owned the trending list.

Other groups that are carrying out similar shenanigans are Justin Bieber lovers and haters, Selena Gomez lovers and haters and Demi Lovato lovers and haters. As I'm typing this, this is currently a trend on the Twitter Trending List: Demi Is Our Tortuguila. Whatever that means. And Justin Is Our Light When. Apparently with each tweet they give a reason when Justin is their light.

There's also silly trends like #ReplaceFishWithTheWordLoveInALoveSong or #Name10ThingsPeopleDontKnowAboutYou. They're pretty harmless compared to the fake death trends and hate trends, but still they're not genuine trends. They're still subverting what the Trending List is supposed to be for. A measurement of what is genuinely trending; not what fake trends people are making trend. It's an abuse of what the Trending List is supposed to be for.

In a lot of cases it seems to give these people a feeling of power; especially the fans of TV shows. Some give the impression that they believe if they can make it appear as a Worldwide Trend they can make what they want happen on the show their a fan of. It may be the same feeling of power that fans of rival teen pop stars get whether they're managing to get a fake love trend about the teen pop star they're a fan of to trend or making a hate trend about a teen pop star they see as a rival to the teen pop star they're a fan of. As for the people they make fake celebrity deaths trend or hate trends trend, I have no clue just what they're getting out of it.

For Twitter's part, I do think they're tried to find ways to stop Twitter users from abusing the Trending List. They won't let you tweet for a set length of time if you retweet too many tweets in a certain period of time and they only allow you to do a certain amount of tweets. Unfortunately, these people are determined and it isn't doing anything to stop the fake trends from occurring.

The only solution may be to make the Trending List private so users can't see it. That way if they can't see if they're constantly incessant trending of the same phrase over and over again has made the Trending List, they'll be apt to stop with the fake trends. Twitter could keep an accurate account of what's genuinely trending that way and the Trending List will no longer be abused by users. It would also stop sickies getting their jollies from trending fake deaths from being seen by Twitter users; the same would go for the hate trends.

It really is something Twitter should consider.

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