Facebook may be going through a strong spell with Wall Street, but they’re not winning any prizes for imagination. Having ripped off the hashtag two months ago, it seems the social copycat are now experimenting with trending topics.
In the war for advertising dollars, it seems that live events and the conversations that surround them are likely to be one of the key battlefields. And nobody does these live events and conversations better than Twitter, so rather than reinvent the wheel it seems Facebook are content to create a replica. In June they explained that they would be developing a series of features designed to bring to the surface “interesting discussions people are having about public events, people and topics.” Having kicked this off with hashtags, the natural progression from there was always going to be trending topics.
One challenge for Facebook is that, unlike Twitter, it is a closed network – or rather a vast collection of closed networks – and therefore much of the information they would no doubt love to use will be private and off limits.
Of course it may be that it’s just an isolated experiment and this is the last we hear of it, but as news and social continue to merge it seems likely that functionality of this kind – whether or not we use the word “trending” – will be a core ingredient that Facebook simply can’t do without.
Image taken from the Wall Street Journal.