Chris Struhar Engineering Manager at Facebook on Jan 16th 2014 made a much anticipated announcement on Facebook Newsroom– Facebook has introduced a ‘Trending’ feature.

The feature was promised in mid-2013.

Yes, it’s one more feature Facebook has ‘copied’ from another platform in order to keep moving forward on its path to become the online hotspot for conversations around the latest happenings.

Facebook Trending Feature

The list, christened as ‘Trending,’ (why would Facebook take the trouble of naming it anything other than what people already know about; courtesy Twitter), now appears on the right sidebar.

To begin with, the ‘Trending’ feature is being rolled out for the United States, India, Canada, Australia and Britain.

According to a New York Times report, users in these countries would be able to see trending topics in about two weeks. Facebook’s mobile applications and users in other countries would get the Trending feature in the next phase.

While Twitter’s trending feature has been a phenomenal success particularly because millions of its users are actively using hashtags to participate in micro and macro conversations, it remains to be seen just how well Facebook can execute the same concept.

Example of Twitter Trending Feature

Even an average user on Twitter starts using hashtags in as little as first 7-15 days.

On Facebook, however, very few people have so far chosen to add hashtags to their posts.

Except dedicated social media marketers including page managers, there’re only a small set of users (compared to Facebook’s user base) who actively use hashtags.

Example of Facebook Hashtag Feature

One of the key reasons why hashtag feature did not take off so well on Facebook wasthe absence of a feature like the one it has just rolled out.

One of the biggest hurdles in making ‘Trending’ feature a success at Facebook would be the social media giant’s obligation to honor the set privacy controls of its users.

Facebook can only assimilate posts under ‘trending topics’ when they are in public domain. It cannot, for example, just pick posts related to an ongoing event from the profiles of millions of users who chose not to be a part of public conversation.

Unlike Facebook, conversations on twitter are public by default. Momentum builds up quickly because hundreds and thousands of users start contributing to the ongoing conversation on a topic within hours.

Thumbs-up to Twitter

The latest tweets on a topic are shown to all others by default. Facebook, on the other hand, will take the authority of a user-profile/page and the kind of response it has received to decide on the kind of posts it should expose a user to.

To sum be it up – Facebook’s Trending feature would be controlled by some algorithms. Since it’s a new feature, it’s almost impossible to comment on how you can manipulate it to get your content right on the top!

Unethical Method of Promotion

Truth be told, the result (so far) of Facebook’s Trending feature is nowhere close to that of Twitter if you were to consider the variety and quality of content shared due to this very reason.

Let’s wait and watch. There must be some opportunities for us marketers.

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