Twitter Testing Star and Like, But Why?Written by Michael Levanduski
October 25, 2012 # 8:17 pm # Industry News, Specials # 2 Comments
There was something that I noticed that I decided to read up on recently, and that is Twitter’s testing of these new “Like” and “Star” buttons. In my mind, I could see no way for Twitter to make any additions to their social platform, but with the testing of these new buttons, I wondered what they could be planning. Could they possibly be some new buttons that could be used for marketing purposes, much like the “Want” and “Collect” buttons on Facebook that were recently reported? Another option is that these new buttons being tested are simply a way for Twitter to change things up and keep its users guessing.
The new testing of these buttons was first reported by The Next Web. In their article they give an example of what these new features being tested look like, if you have not seem them yourself yet. Everything looks normal in the line of buttons at the bottom of each tweet; Expand is there, Reply is there, Retweet is there, but then when we get to where the famous Favorite button usually is, the word Like is there next to the little star emblem instead.
As for the Star button, it simply appears in the top right corner of each Tweet. You either leave it as it is, or click it and mark it as starred. It really has me wondering why exactly they would be testing something new when the Favorite option, which has been with them since very near the beginning of the network, is working so well right now. The Favorite button has been in itself a favorite of most Twitter users, so why change it?
Here’s an excerpt from the TNW article,
Of note, the Star terminology is what fledgeling social platform App.net has been using for its ‘favorite’ feature. From what we’ve heard, the Favorites feature on Twitter has been used quite literally billions of times.
So, if Favorites are being used by users “billions of times,” then why make any changes? It could be for the purpose of further monetization of the network, similar to what Facebook has done with their Likes and Sponsored Stories. If this is the purpose of these new buttons, then it will be interesting to see what kind of results they can bring in. They would definitely allow marketers to more effectively use Twitter for advertising, and would show the company’s desire to keep up with companies like Facebook.
However, if the reason for these buttons is for something new or something to replace the Favorite button even, it might be a bad choice. People clearly enjoy the Favorite button, and it gives Twitter a unique way for its users to engage as they would with a Like on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. All of these sites use the same basic mode of engagement, even using the same word. Twitter has veered away from the pack and done its own thing, which users have responded to well. If they add a Like as well, what makes them stand out?
Apparently, TNW couldn’t get any answers from Twitter on the matter, so it seems that for now we’ll just have to wonder.