Hearts vs Stars: Twitter embraces Likes as Facebook leaves them behind
The idea of 'liking' something is synonymous with Facebook. Or at least it was. Now Twitter is trying to get in on the action, renaming Favorites to Likes. As well as a name change, there's also a new icon. Gone is the Favorite Star, replaced with the Like heart.
The move comes just as Facebook is talking about introducing reaction emoji, with a view to giving users of the social network new ways to express how they feel about the content they see. Twitter, however, is moving in the other direction. While 'favoriting' a tweet was fairly non-partisan, 'liking' is an action that is loaded with meaning.
Twitter says that the change is a bid to make things easier to understand, but for long-term users it will be something of a quantum leap. The idea of favoriting, and indeed the star icon, drew parallels with bookmarking websites. Favoriting a tweet did not necessarily indicate that you like it, but that you wanted to be able to easily access it for future reference. It could also be used to express approval or acknowledgement, but that's the point -- 'favorite' was not loaded in the same way as 'like'.
Introducing the Like heart, Twitter says:
We are changing our star icon for favorites to a heart and we’ll be calling them likes. We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.
While the last sentence may be true, it kind of misses the point. Twitter insists that "the heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people", but the reaction from users has been less than positive.
Which camp are you in -- hearts or stars?