In today’s social media age it has never been easier to get the world talking about something. Sadly we don’t call it getting the world talking any more, we call it trending. The question I want to pose today though is this: Do companies know the difference between trending and engagement?
Having millions of people posting at the same time about something, is really cool, but if no one is talking about it 12 hours later, what did it matter and what did it change? The real gauge of interest isn’t how many people post online using the right hashtag or click a link; the real gauge of interest is what action people take about something that is trending.
What to believe
The other problem we have in social media land now, is not knowing what to believe. When you see a post online you don’t know whether someone has been paid to put it up, has paid to make it more visible compared to other posts or if the person posting is a real account and not a robot or a fake alias. On social media, popularity is for sale and anyone can pay to make a topic, an event or a company trend.
When I log on to Facebook I always look at what is trending and it is a function that has made me aware of things that I hadn’t picked up on in the news. It is sad though that I think one day, what is trending will be the news and we will be more interested in what is trending, than we are traditional news. I think more and more that trending is how we find out about the stories of the world around us and I too am guilty of that, but that just shows how much of a powerful tool it can be.
Importance of Trending
Because of the importance put on getting things to trend, it ramps up the pressure. There seems to be a badge of honour that comes with getting something to trend and when it does trend, people then can’t wait to let people know that their stories trend.
The longer we digest social media in this way continues, the more competition there will be to be trending and all I can see that doing, is meaning on average that items will trend for even shorter periods than they do now, so it will turn in to a case of blink and you will miss it.
Just because the online world moves fast, it doesn’t mean that it is always a good thing. If you are involved in putting content online you should want longevity in your content. When I look at stats for this blog, how many people view an article on the day it publishes doesn’t bother me, what I am interested in is how my posts from last year are doing, as that is the test of timeless content. The other stats I am interested in are – how many people comment, follow, like and click through to other articles after reading their first one.
My advice to the online community is – let’s stop worrying about the moment and think about the lifetime.