Twitter is changing one of its core features. Something that has been around since 2006. It's taking away "favorites" and "stars" and replacing them with "likes" and "hearts."
Why? From its blog post:
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.
The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones. The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people. And in our tests, we found that people loved it.
Sure. OK. Here are some immediate thoughts:
1. No more hate faves.
2. Favorites indicate a preference. Likes express a positive sentiment.
You might be my favorite dental floss but I still don't like you.
3. People use stars as bookmarks in the stream.
Twitter is the place where people go to quickly catch up on everything. Earthquakes and hurricanes made Twitter what it is. So did awards shows and football games. Twitter is live. Good and bad and neutral.
Things float by in the stream. A flash in the ever-churning tide of ideas and links and bots and epiphanies and car chases and brand promotions and sports taunts and breaking news and jokes and hashtag games. It's something that stands out in the stream and you want to see again, but that you can't process now.
You don't always like these things.
4. You'll never have the fav vs. fave debate again.
Does it rhyme with "rave" or "Cav"? Is there an "E" on the end?? IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER ANYMORE. IT DOESN'T. Go back to arguing GIFs.
5. A lot of Twitter's recent moves seem like dude-fussing.
Are you familiar with dude-fussing? It's when you go camping and someone feels a primal need to poke at the fire every 30 seconds. Or when someone is barbecuing and they cant just leave the fucking burgers alone.
These actions don't have any real effect. But they are fussy and make a great show of effort at doing something to make it all better.
See also: Polls. Moments.
6. Flirting via fave is now more obvious.
8. Hearts make more sense on Instagram.
Twitter's decision feels a bit like it's following something successful (hearts) from Instagram. Twitter is a news source, while Instagram is a delight engine. And it makes sense that Twitter, which can often seem grim, might want to focus user attention on the more pleasurable things one can see there.
But Instagram isn't delightful because it's full of cartoon hearts — it's delightful because of its core experience that encourages people to post delightful things there.
Holidays excepted, it rarely feels set in any one place or moment in time. It's very individual. It's very sentimental (which Twitter exemplifies the reverse of). You're much more likely to follow people you know in person. It literally attempts to help you present your life in the best possible light.
9. Accidental faves just got even more awkward.
10. Twitter is prioritizing growth over catering to the interests of power users.
The company notes in its announcement, "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." In other words: It thinks stars are too hard for people who are new to Twitter to understand, but they'll fundamentally get a heart. And because it needs to grow to make Wall Street happy, Twitter cares a lot more about those new users than it does its existing ones.
Thumbnail image via DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images
Mat Honan is the San Francisco bureau chief for BuzzFeed News. Formerly a senior staff writer at Wired, he has been writing about the technology industry and its impact on society for nearly 20 years.
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Ellen Cushing is an articles editor for BuzzFeed News' tech section and is based in San Francisco.
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Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
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