Twitter replaces Favourites with Likes. But do they mean the same thing?

Twitter announced yesterday that it is replacing Favourites with Likes. Unfortunately, this isn't a like-for-like switch. The Favourite star offered a wealth of nuanced communication options that the...

Twitter heart

Twitter announced yesterday that it is replacing Favourites with Likes. Unfortunately, this isn’t a like-for-like switch.

Twitter heart

Twitter users have long since adapted to the quirks of the network: short URLs, the ‘follow-me-so-I-can-message-you’ dance, having to leave enough characters to add an image etc. And Favourites have always been a central part of this quirkiness.

Like Twitter itself, there is (was) no set usage for Favourites. People used them for lots of reasons, including:

  • Bookmarking a Tweet, perhaps to read or reply to later
  • Expressing approval or gratitude, but not enough to re-Tweet it
  • Tagging a Tweet – e.g. for inclusion in a Twitter feed at an event
  • Simply acknowledging a Tweet

Twitter’s announcement that, seemingly without much consultation, they have replaced the Favourite star icon with a little heart icon to denote ‘Like’, puts an end to these nuances of communication. The new heart icon is also being rolled out on Vine, Twitter’s short video platform.

According to the official blog post, the network is trying to “make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use”. This will resonate with many first time users, who often struggle to battle through Twitter’s quirkiness to find a purpose for the platform, but incumbents are already howling.

One complaint is the old Favourites, which still exist, now look rather odd. If you’ve Favourited something sad or negative for example, you might look rather heartless, if you’ll excuse the pun.

The Guardian has published a colourful list of Tweeted responses to the change and a quick Twitter search for #TwitterHeart offers a similar snapshot of views.

Have they got it right? Will you mourn the loss of Favourites or just enjoy the new Like?

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