3 ways to become a trending topic on Twitter

You don’t have to be Justin Bieber—or a dead celebrity—to become a trending topic, you just need to know how to do it.

Twitter has altered its trending topics algorithm, so it favors novelty over popularity. It’s only interested in terms that suddenly become popular, rather than terms like “Justin Bieber” that stay consistently popular.

Despite the change, dead celebrities will still trend.

So, how can you—or one of your clients—become a trending topic (outside of getting famous and dying)?

I’ve had a few experiences with clients orchestrating trending hashtags. (A hashtag is a way to qualify or organize the topic of a tweet; it’s usually this sign, #, followed by a word or phrase.) Based on those experiences, along with public data explaining why certain topics trend, here are three ways to become a trending topic on Twitter.

1. Start a meme that asks a question or poses a challenge.

At least half of all of Twitter’s trending topics are memes that pose a question a challenge. A meme refers to a concept or idea that spreads online.

These question memes are kind of like Jeopardy! Your tweet is the answer, and the hashtag is the question or challenge, which is usually comes at the end of the tweet.

For a hashtag to act like a meme and successfully trend, it has to give the tweeter an opportunity to do one or more of the following:

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