Facebook introduces new personalized trending feature

Facebook is trying to become a real time network, in the vein of Twitter

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 16, 2014
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3469

It's not something that I think is talked about all that much, but Facebook and Twitter seem to have kind of a fierce rivalry going on. Or, at least, Facebook always seems to be taking Twitter's ideas, be it hashtags or television reports

Is it actually a rivalry if only one side seems to care about the other? Well, either way, Facebook is at it again, incorporating a Twitter feature into its service.

This time it is trending topics, which Facebook revealed on Thursday, after testing out the feature on desktop for the past six months. 

"Facebook is a space where people from all over the world gather every day to share their thoughts and participate in real-time conversations, from the highlights of the Golden Globes to the passing of Nelson Mandela," Chris Struhar, Engineering Manager, wrote.

"Today we're announcing Trending, a new product that's designed to surface interesting and relevant conversations in order to help you discover the best content from all across Facebook."

The new section will be placed the right of the News Feed, where users will see a list of topics that have recently spiked in popularity.

Here is what it will look like:

Once a user clicks on a topic, their News Feed will then become entirely made out of posts from their friends, or pages they like, about said topic.

One thing that will set this feature apart from the way that Twitter currently does is that Facebook is making the trending list personalized, basing it on what each individual users is interested in, as well as what is being talked about.

In addition, each topic also comes with a headline that briefly explains why it is trending. 

I find the placement of the new section to be interesting; it seems to be right where my ticker, showing me the most recent activity from all of my friends, is currently placed. And right underneath that is "people you may know."

I reached out to Facebook to find out if the ticker is being discontinued, or if it is being moved, but I have not heard anything more so far.

This move by Facebook seems like another move to become a more "of the moment" type of social network; one where news travels fast and fosters conversations. Which is what Twitter currently specializes in. 

Earlier this week, Facebook bought social sharing service Branch Media to head its Conversations group. Branch Media was the company behind two services: Branch, which is a platform for hosting, and publishing, invite-only conversations; and Potluck, a Web and mobile app that is “designed for friends to talk about cool things they find online.” 

The company said it will be developing similar services for Facebook.

Facebook has to hope that its new trending feature works out better than the last time it stole an idea from Twitter. 

The company decided to take Twitter head on by introducing hashtags in June, but by September it was already clear that Facebook users had little interest in using them

(Image source: http://www.pinterest.com)

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