I was an ear­ly adopter of Twit­ter. I signed up only a year after it launched, which seems like an eter­ni­ty now, but social media as a thing was still in its infan­cy. In fact, here in Leth­bridge, there was only a hand­ful of peo­ple using it, and we used it more as a cha­t­room to chat with each oth­er.

In the 8 years I’ve been on Twit­ter, I have seen a lot of changes. (It didn’t even have hash­tags when I signed up.) One of the changes I’ve wit­nessed is the evo­lu­tion of the favourite but­ton.

Orig­i­nal­ly, use of the fea­ture was lim­it­ed to a book­mark­ing fea­ture, sav­ing some­thing for future ref­er­ence. In fact, that’s pre­cise­ly how I used it.

Over time, how­ev­er, I began to notice that peo­ple start­ed favourit­ing tweets of mine that didn’t seem wor­thy of book­mark­ing (for exam­ple, if I had said thank you or thanked them for men­tion­ing me on a fol­low Fri­day).

I didn’t think much of it at a time, but it start­ed becom­ing much more com­mon. Once I start­ed man­ag­ing cor­po­rate accounts, then I saw that it wasn’t a prac­tice just com­mon among my fol­low­ers. Now that I’ve been man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple com­mer­cial accounts, I see that it has become quite com­mon­place.

While I think some Twit­ter users still use the favourite but­ton as a book­mark­ing tool, I get the sense that most use it for some­thing else, like a like but­ton but more.

In my expe­ri­ence, Twit­ter fol­low­ers use the tool as a way to say thank you, as a way to show agree­ment, in a way sim­i­lar to a like but­ton, as a way to strength­en their sup­port for some­thing they retweet, and as a way to engage with con­tent that they don’t want to retweet.

Was the favourite but­ton designed to be this robust, or do peo­ple use it this way because no oth­er options exist?

I ask because if users adapt some­thing because of a lack of options, per­haps it’s time to con­sid­er expand­ing the toolset.

One con­sid­er­a­tion would be to cre­ate a sep­a­rate book­mark or save but­ton as way to mark spe­cif­ic things for lat­er, kind of what the favourite but­ton used to be used for.

Anoth­er would be a thanks but­ton. Rumour has it, actu­al­ly, that the favourite near­ly debuted as a thanks but­ton. This would allow peo­ple to have a fea­ture for actions they already take on the ser­vice.

Per­haps one more fea­ture would be some­thing like a like but­ton on Face­book and LinkedIn and the heart on Pin­ter­est.

Or they can just keep it as is, and let peo­ple use favourite how­ev­er they see fit.

What do you think? Should Twit­ter expand their favourite but­ton to a more robust toolset, or should they keep it as is? Let me know your thoughts in the com­ments below.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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