Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Twitter changes favorite button to like button

This morning Twitter users might have noticed this change to their interface. Product managers have dropped the star button that meant "favourite" and have replaced it with a heart button that means "like".

The reaction online has been quite intense from those who care a lot about the minutiae of social media platforms, but in general the audience has just taken this change in its ambling stride, and moved on. Most people have made no mention of it at all. Rather a fast switch in attitudes, you would think. Or else it's not much of a switch in attitudes at all because most Twitter users might have been using "favourite" to mean "like" all along.

That seems to be the way those I interact with on Twitter have been using the "favourite" button, at least. I will normally get a number of people "favouriting" tweets that I am mentioned in each day; either tweets that I have myself put out or tweets that others have put out that include my handle. Some people still use the "favourite" button of course in the way it was designed to be used: in order to bookmark a tweet for later and more lengthy perusal. But not many and I am one of those few because that's how I have always used the "favourite" button. In other words, sparingly.

It seems to make sense therefore to go with the flow. Twitter has always been a place where users have been listened to more than they have been at other social media platforms. Remember when hashtags first appeared? They were a user innovation, entirely promoted by users who just wanted to aggregate similar tweets into discrete tweetstreams. They work brilliantly, for example, with TweetDeck or HootSuite, which both came later than the native interface.

Twitter has been listening again. And with Facebook about to launch a new suite of emoticons that will allow users to express different emotions - a set of emoticons rather than the originally-mooted "dislike" button - it's a good time now for the rival platform to switch.

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