Twitter tests 'Like,' 'Star' buttons in place of 'Favorite'

Twitter appears to be testing new terminology for its “Favorite” feature, including “Like” and “Star.” I’m not a huge fan of the Facebook Like button and what it means, but I have often wished for a Like button on Twitter.

Twitter’s Favorite feature, which has been around since 2008, is similar to Facebook’s Like button. When users hover over a tweet, they’re able to expand the tweet or view the conversation (if there is one), reply to the tweet, retweet it, or mark it as a favorite. All tweets -- including the user’s own tweets -- can be marked as a favorite. Tweets marked as a favorite have a small orange star in the upper right corner and appear in the user’s Favorites list, and are visible to the original owner of the tweet.

Like the Facebook Like button, the Twitter Favorite button lets people know that you either loved their tweet or wanted to remember it.

At the moment, only a few users appear to be seeing this test. According to The Next Web, Twitter user @eyegooner is currently seeing the Star test, while TechMeme editor Lidija Davis is seeing the Like test. Davis shares a screenshot of her Likes list, which I assume is what her Favorites list is currently called.

Is your Twitter experience about to change?

Just because Twitter is testing a feature doesn’t necessarily mean that feature will roll out to the general public. In May, Twitter published a blog post about innovation, in which the company noted that it “frequently test hundreds of variations of new features and designs with small groups of users.” However, we don’t usually see these hundreds of variations, since, once the experiment is over, Twitter rolls out the most successful variation to everyone.

So while you may not see a Like or a Star button in the future, it’s not unlikely that the Favorites button will change. In fact, AllThingsD reports that Twitter’s Favorite button was almost called the “Thanks” button. According to AllThingsD, citing “sources familiar with Twitter’s early thinking,” the company played around with a number of terms -- including Like and Star, as well as Thanks -- before settling on Favorite.

I do like the term Like better than the term Favorite, but I know that people are pretty divided on this. I can like a post and not have it be one of my favorite posts. For me, “Favorite” is too strong a word for what the Favorite button is used for. As AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac points out, the Favorite button is for affirming and acknowledging tweets without actually responding. But rarely do I come across a tweet that I want to save and cherish forever; tweets are, after all, built around the concept of concision and disposability. I’m not a huge fan of the Star terminology, since that implies bookmarking or saving something for a later date.

What do you think? Would you rather Favorite, Like, Star, or Thank people for their tweets?

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