‘Why Is This Trending?’ Was Tweeted More Than Half A Million Times This Past Year & Twitter Is Finally Doing Something About It

Photographed by Gabby Jones.
Maybe it's your favourite celebrity. Or worse, a politician you tolerate. Or perhaps, it's a food item, a song, a state, a hashtag cancelling someone, a K-pop star. Twitter's trending page is an assortment box of online conversations and often, seeing a name floating on the trending page with no context is all it takes to make or break your day. For example, your heart would likely sink if Betty White started trending later today.
Lately, the trending page has become one of the most confusing parts of the internet. Often, you'll click into a trending topic only to find tweet after tweet asking, "why is this trending?" In fact, Twitter's been keeping count: "Why is this trending?" was tweeted over half a million times this past year. Sometimes you find people offering summaries on why something is trending, but sometimes you give up on caring because "why is this trending" is clogging up the feed.
In response, Twitter will now pin tweets and descriptions to trending topics that need the extra explanation. These tweets and descriptions will be brought to you by Twitter's algorithm and its curatorial team — so maybe don't rely on these to get your news or understand the full breadth of why something is a hot topic of discussion. But consider it a time-saving tool for the next time Betty White is trending.
If anything, this will just cut down on the number of "why is this trending" tweets that get in the way of everyone's participation. Because you have to wonder: There must've been a point in the conversation where people were talking about something and it became a trending topic. Then some clueless Columbus walked into the chat to ask "why is this trending" instead of reading through the conversation. Then came another one and then a third. And they flooded the feed like the anchovies raiding the Krusty Krab. This new feature is just a way to send them on their way before they overwhelm the conversation.

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