For sure, Twitter Trends give visitors a great general overview of what the app’s user base of millions are talking about the most at any given time, giving some insight in what’s happening around the world.
It’s an awesome way for people to discover what’s going on, and more users will see the benefits of keeping track of trending topics now that the company has decided to integrate the top 10 trends in the right sidebar of the web version for everyone.
At times the keywords for the trending topics, often determined by many users using the same hashtag for something can be quite self-explanatory, e.g. today’s ‘Swine Flu’ and ‘#swineflu’. More often that not, however, you have no idea why a certain keyword is currently a trend, and figuring out what all the fuzz is about can be quite a pain. Enter What The Trend, which attempts to offer short blurbs about trending topics with a short explanation on why it’s in the top 10 list.
For example, I had no clue why ‘Jonas’ was in the top trends list, until I clicked through to this user-editable explanation blurb and learned that it’s a new show in Disney Channel. In addition, What The Trend shows me the latest tweets about the topic, and also attempts to fetch related pictures from Flickr as well as news through Google News.
You can directly tweet that there’s a trend explanation to your own Twitter account, with bonus points for another service boasting its very own URL shortening service (wttrend.com). The service has its own Twitter account which it regularly updates with new trends + explanations and also offers RSS feeds and its own API. I’m left wondering which desktop application provider will be the first to integrate the What The Trend explanations, and how quickly people will start abusing the wiki-approach the service is taking: my guess is we won’t have to wait long for either one to happen.
I can actually see myself going this website once and a while to get a feel of what’s trending on Twitter, although I wish I wouldn’t need to and Twitter would incorporate this into the web version itself. Until that happens, and I doubt it ever will, What The Trend provides the perfect alternative.