Here is some insight on this phenomenon..
Ive been conducting some informal research over the past couple weeks, and Ive discovered that a frequency of approx 20 tweets per minute mentioning the same word is enough to create a top trending topic on Twitter.
As I was watching the trending topics this morning, at 7am EST, I saw the word "peace" suddenly pop up on Twitters list of top 10 trending topics. Using Twitters search I quickly counted up the number of results over the previous 5 minutes, and found 69 mentions, mostly in reference to today being The International Day of Peace.
Over the next 5 minutes, there were approximately 120 new mentions. Combined, those mentions averaged about 19 mentions per minute at the time when the word became a top 10 trending topic.
This confirms an earlier bit of research I did last Wednesday, when I looked at the number of mentions for "Baucus" when Senator Max Baucus proposed health care legislation became a trending topic. Using Trendistic to determine when the term got hot, I went back through Twitter search and counted the mentions. I found that a frequency of approx 20-25 mentions per minute was enough to make Baucus become a trending topic.
The other key variable in the trending topic equation is the duration of the frequency of mentions. Once you pass the necessary threshold of mentions per minute to become a trending topic, how long can you sustain that frequency? Its this length of time that determines the strength and staying power of a trending topic.
View rest of post via Mike Arauz: Trending Topics on Twitter: What does it take?.