Twitter Trending Topics have often been seen as the best way to guage what the mood is right here, right now, in the land of Twitter. Be they Michael Jackson, Iran Election, or Mrs. Slocombe’s Pussy, the rise of the popular keyword has been significant.
The importance of the Trending Topics sidebar too has grown. If a brand can get their name or product to trend, hey presto, promotion, for free, in front of millions of eyeballs.
This has led to many brands and many people gaming the system – look at the Moonfruit scenario – and this means that, for the most part, Trending Topics do not necessarily reflect the true nature of the main topics of conversation on Twitter.
This means that they are no longer relevant. A waste of space which does nothing but promote oft-repeated hashtags, which are largely nonsensical to the end user. The end user does however, like Trending Topics, so they can get that snapshot of what is important at any one time.
What I’d like to see is localised Trending Topics, made up from individual user’s followers and followees. You have 100 followers and 100 followees who are not into the NBA for example, but do watch English Premiership football. Your Trending Topics will include relevant tidbits about the English Premiership, because the Topics are taken from your followers not the mass, but not the latest basketball game because it is not relevant to you, despite it being a Twitter-wide Trending Topic.
This would make conversations more relevant to each user, encourage users to find other users with similar interests and help to prevent brands and spammers from gaming the Trending Topic system.
Yes, this may be initially difficult to implement due to API calls and such, but, for Twitter to grow they have to find ways of keeping the platform free from spam and relevant to its users. By helping users to make their experience more personal they can do both of these in one swoop.