Twitter's Favorite Button - The Dilemma

You know that little star underneath tweets. Yeah, that one. It's time Twitter addresses what exactly it would like it to be.

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  1. Twitter users have always been a driving force behind changes to its platform. For example, what began as "What are you doing?" has turned into "What's happening?" because of how Twitter users treated the platform. The "RT" & "MT" were created by users. Twitter probably never planned to have a "retweet" button until its users were seen constantly "RT"ing content.

    So now let's discuss the "Favorite" button that sits underneath a tweet. What is it?

    Well, it depends who you are. Some use it to "Like" a tweet; others use it to flag a tweet for later. Some even use it to end a conversation (i.e. "I saw your tweet and don't really have more to say, but don't want to make it look like I'm ignoring you.") and a few use it to highlight testimonials.

    (Sidenote: There are also sites that religiously track the amount of "favs" one receives. Trophies are awarded and tweet-alerts are sent when someone surpasses 50 favs on a single tweet.)

    In October of 2012, Twitter began testing a replacement for the favorite button with a "like" and "star" on select accounts. This leads one to believe that Twitter views the favorite button as a "+1" gesture. As in, "Good one, John! I like that tweet!"
  2. The question then becomes: Why would I want to feature everything I +1'ed on my profile, which Twitter currently offers? Furthermore, if some users are using this "favorite" button as a way of alerting another that they've seen a tweet but aren't necessarily +1ing it, then this should certainly need not be displayed on a Twitter user's profile.

    Let's backtrack. What exactly is found under a tweet? Reply, Retweet, Favorite, and More (to Email Tweet).

    The "Reply" is obviously needed. The "Retweet" is used by those who would like to share content they've seen with others. "Email Tweet", added more recently, is useful, as well.

    Chris Taylor, @FutureBoy on Twitter, weighed in on the "favorite" function:
  3. What Twitter could immediately do to solve part of the dilemma is create a button alongside "Favorite" that reads "Save For Later". When pushed, the tweet will be filed away in a "Saved For Later" folder that is only visible to the saver. The author of the tweet would not be notified of this action. This will immediately clear up the Favorite's double purpose.

    Now, if Favorite is akin to a +1, users need not remember all the Favorites or convo-enders they've ever given out on the platform.

    So get rid of the Favorites folder entirely? No - it would be neat to have a folder where you place all the tweets you never want to forget and can easily find. Think of it as a place where tweets that are worthy of everlasting recognition live. Having a "Favorite" (+1) button AND a "Trophy" (displayed in an award folder forever) button would be confusing so there's that dilemma, too.

    I'm not in favor of getting rid of the "Favorite" button. Keep it. Just give us a "Save For Later" button, stop saving everything we "Favorite" because we're mostly just +1'ing the content anyway and allow us to showcase the tweets we find to be most epic.

    Five buttons displayed would be: 1) Reply, 2) Retweet, 3) Favorite, 4) Save, 5) More

    More leads to two additional buttons: 6) Send Email, 7) Place In Showcase
  4. Profiles would then look like:
  5. Do you think this will work? Do you dislike it? What would you do? Hit me up on Twitter: @EliLanger