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TwitterBirdTwitter just published a blog post explaining how to get into one of the most prominent spots on the site — the Trends list.

The post, which is credited to Twitter spokesperson Carolyn Penner, was apparently prompted by speculation that Twitter was blocking WikiLeaks (the controversial site for leaked documents that has come under fire) from showing up in Trends. It doesn’t go into a huge amount of detail, but there seems to be one big takeaway for companies hoping to make a splash (and who aren’t going to pay for a Promoted Trend): Go for a big explosion of tweets rather than a constant flow of interest over time.

From the post:

Twitter Trends are automatically generated by an algorithm that attempts to identify topics that are being talked about more right now than they were previously. The Trends list is designed to help people discover the ‘most breaking’ breaking news from across the world, in real-time. The Trends list captures the hottest emerging topics, not just what’s most popular. Put another way, Twitter favors novelty over popularity (as BuzzFeed noted in a great article & infographic earlier this week). …

Sometimes a topic doesn’t break into the Trends list because its popularity isn’t as widespread as people believe. And, sometimes, popular terms don’t make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn’t increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day; this is what happened with #wikileaks this week.

Again, it’s not hugely revealing, but that’s more information than Penner’s old employer Google is usually willing to share about its search ranking algorithm. Last week Google revealed that it had changed its algorithm to eliminate merchants who are using negative reviews to increase their prominence in search — but the company declined to say anything about how it made that change.


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