Sorry Twitter, as much as I’d like, my heart does not belong to you

simon picTwitter has changed its star-shaped ‘favourite’ button to a heart-shaped ‘like’ button in an attempt to make it “more expressive”. But Simon Canning argues it will change the way he interacts with the network, and not for the better.

Overnight Twitter slipped in a subtle but significant change to how its users like what they see. The star became a heart and with that move they broke mine.

By moving from a benign symbol such as the star to the heart, something linked to our strongest emotions, Twitter has created an ambiguity that has bedevilled Facebook for years with the challenge of the “like” button.

No longer will I be so willing to favourite an item in my feed, the heart suggesting a level of endorsement beyond the simple act of liking something.

The difficulty of the icon becomes even more obvious when wanting to favourite but not necessarily like something in my feed – say a brilliant piece of journalism about Australia’s treatment of refugees, something on the English cricket team or pretty much anything by Chris Kenny (sorry Chris).

Just as Facebook has struggled to come up with a button that people could use to acknowledge posts such as the announcement of the death of a loved one, Twitter has now forced people to consider what they like at a far more emotional level – the end result could be that people like things a lot less because like and love are far different emotions.

Salesforce gets Twitter Love 420 times, Richard Branson gets none.

Salesforce gets Twitter Love 420 times, Richard Branson gets none.

So too, those who have used the star as a method of saving tweets they wanted to refer back to may be less willing to do so given the level of endorsement involved.

There is one positive aspect to the change though. The angry, vitriolic battles that often break out on Twitter over contentious issues will take on a whole new meaning with the heart button.

So, like it or not, welcome to Twitter’s Summer of Love!

  • Simon Canning is a reporter at Mumbrella

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