The first thing we do in the morning is log into Facebook and carouse the Trending Topics column. Don’t lie, you do it too. It’s a pretty fantastic tool and it’s a great way to stay on top of what people are talking about. From a business standpoint, it’s a great way to get involved in the biggest social media conversations. Simply type the topic title in your status update and you’re in. We can’t deny the convenience of this particular innovation but it’s also got us wondering – are Facebook Trending Topics a reflection of what’s important to our society and our culture? If so, we have some thinking to do.
Flash back five months to February. Harold Ramis, an extremely popular actor/director/writer for many years, died of vasculitis. Naturally, Harold Ramis was the number one trending topic on Facebook – at least for that day. Everyone was talking about him, mourning him, trying to figure out how he died, expressing their sorrows. For that particular day, it felt as though the trending topics served as a tool of unity. Fast forward to literally the next day. The number one trending topic on Facebook was Taco Bell’s unveiling of their breakfast menu. That was solid in the top three for at least two days, while Harold Ramis plummeted to the end of the list. It was so interesting to us to see how quickly people’s focus can shift from such an extreme to another.
Currently, about half of the trending topics are pop culture-related. While those topics are arguably a little bit MORE important than Taco Bell, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached new and scary heights.. We’ve heard nothing about that anywhere and quite frankly, we’re very surprised it hasn’t hit the trending topics even slightly. Does this mean nobody is talking about it? If so, WHY is nobody talking about it? Perhaps it’s not important enough.
On any given day, the top trending topic is usually pop-culture related. Yesterday, it was Solange Knowles who FINALLY made a statement about the infamous elevator fight with Jay-Z. We get the curiosity and we understand people just have a thirst for gossip. Then that pesky little (HUGE) Middle Eastern conflict sneaks up on us and we can’t stop asking why.
We’ve come to a few conclusions: 1) Our culture has a knack for disregarding the important things in our world and have perfected apathy and naiveté. 2) Our culture is profoundly resilient and knows how to make the best of the most daunting situations by focusing on the little things in life. 3.) Facebook trending topics isn’t as important as we think it might be and it doesn’t actually or accurately reflect the sentiments and feelings of the masses.
While we decide which conclusion makes the most sense, we’ll look forward to seeing what makes the cut tomorrow.