The Real Truth Behind Twitter’s Change from Favorites to Likes and Now Emoji Testing.

twitter favorites

Earlier this month, Twitter decided to move forward with changing its favorite (star) button to a like (hearts) button.

And all of Twitter broke lose! Angry tweets and remarks ensued.

twitter change favorite likes

In case you missed it, here is quick snippet from Twitter’s blog explaining the reason for the change:

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 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.”

twitter favorites to hearts change

I’m not sure how many people tested out the like button, or their demographics, but clearly the reaction that Twitter received once it implemented its favorites to hearts change globally, was not conclusive with the test.

Related: Actionable Ways to Using Twitter as a Lead Generation Tool

In an attempt to fix this, reports show that Twitter is experimenting with emojis, as way to present people with more options.

The question remains: Why this change? Why did anyone care about the change from favorites to hearts? Do we need emojis on Twitter?

It turns out that, many Twitter super fans had their own understanding of what a “favorite” means. To them, a star button doesn’t always represent a positive “like” emotion. It shows that they’ve either seen the tweet or are bookmarking it for later on. Apparently some even used it as a way to show dislike. I’m not sure exactly how that works but…okay.

A research study conducted with over 600 respondents’ on their use of the favorite button unearthed these findings:

  1. Users used the favorite button to respond or show acknowledgement to a Tweet.
  2. Respondents used it as a non-verbal online communication
  3. Unlike retweets, users used the favorite button as way to privately interact with Tweets.

A much more interesting finding from this research is that, many of the respondents while aware of the favorite button didn’t really use it much or pay particular attention to the button. The research also showed that users rarely visited favorite list section on Twitter.

Trending: How to Make Twitter a Gold Mine for Leads

So The Real Reason Behind Twitter’s Change?

Before the change, using the favorite star button might have become a little bit more mundane. Whether the change is one that’s welcomed or not, Twitter has succeeded in getting people to express some sort of emotion towards a feature that they’ve had for years.

It is unclear if the move to emojis will be able to replace the use of the star favorites button, as the use of an emoji often adds a more informal tone to a conversation. For a platform such as Twitter that is widely used both professionally and personally, it may present a way to blur the lines and gear the platform towards a much younger audience.

At the end of the day, however, while I’m a big proponent of customer-centric marketing, turning a blind eye to what users claim they want may turn out to be an advantage for Twitter.

Now, every time you have to hit the new “like” button or wonder if you should use an emoji (if it’s finally implemented), you may put in some more thought. And anything that gets you to interact more while using the platform, is essentially a win for Twitter.

Image courtesy of: crop /

Written by Hellen Oti

Founder of MarketingWorld, Digital Marketing and Web Analytics Manager at CompuData and passionate Integrated Marketing Optimization (IMO) evangelist.

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