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Has Twitter Lost its Star Quality?

Jason Freeman | 06 Nov, 2015 | Return|
Twitter’s decision to dump its “Favourite” Star icon in favour of a Heart

Anyone involved in marketing knows that even minor tweaks to a company logo can have a big impact on branding. You have to be pretty confident of your market positioning to doodle about with your logo like Google does.

In a similar way, Twitter’s decision to dump its “Favourite” Star icon in favour of a Heart to demonstrate that you “Like” a tweet and its content is a big step, right or wrong.

Twitter explains its move in the following way:

“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.”

Star versatility

The key word there is probably “newcomers” and this is definitely what Twitter is looking for and plenty of them! But long-standing Twitter users may see things differently, as Casey Newton recently explained in The Verge

“I've favorited more than 60,000 tweets over the years, and in that time I've come to appreciate how versatile that little button is. I use it as a kind of read receipt to acknowledge replies; I use it whenever a tweet makes me laugh out loud; I use it when someone criticizes me by name in the hopes that seeing it's one of my "favorite" tweets will confuse and upset them. It often works!”

We would also add that the “Favourite” button has been recognised as a polite way of ending a conversation on Twitter which is becoming too lengthy, whereas the “Like” option would tend to indicate that you wish the chatter to continue. Anyway, Mashable reports that a Google Chrome extension called Fav Forever has just been brought out to change hearts back to stars on Twitter’s website, but that doesn't alter how Tweets appear outside!

Heart appeal

A post on Econsultancy “What Twitter’s new Like Button Means for Marketers” takes a more positive view of the change:

“Marketers typically turn to a number of metrics to determine the efficacy of their efforts on Twitter. One of the most popular metrics is Retweets.

“It will remain a useful metric but Likes could become even more popular. After all, convincing users to Retweet a piece of content to all of their followers can be difficult. Convincing users to Like a piece of content, on the other hand, may be easier.

As such, marketers may look at Likes to gain a better understanding of how well their content is resonating with their audiences on Twitter.”

Rightly, the author sees Twitter’s strategy as a bid to appeal to the mainstream.

“Despite the fact that it has opened itself up to copycat criticism, it's no surprise that the company opted to use a term that billions of people around the world are familiar with thanks to Facebook.”

What still makes Twitter unique?

However, the upshot of this that social channels are in danger of losing differentiation and engagement focus. After all, a Heart on Twitter performs the same purpose as a Thumbs-up on Facebook and retweeting content on Twitter is pretty similar in principle to sharing content on Facebook or LinkedIn.

So, has Twitter lost its special B2B appeal? 

No, because the key differentiator remains in its 140-character micro-blog format.  This gives content a particular immediacy and buzz that is lacking in other networks. It leads to infinite variety in an easily digestible form and can provide excellent opportunities for B2B engagement in a genuine conversational style.

So, please Twitter, whatever else you do, don’t change this unique feature!

BBI Brandboost manages a wide range of Twitter accounts for our clients and the engagement works well in terms of interaction and targeted following. Contact us on 01494 452600 or by email to discover how we can put “Heart” into your “Star” B2B social media activities!

About the Author

Jason Freeman

Jason Freeman

As a hands-on company director, Jason inspires our team with his visionary approach to marketing coupled with his impressive technical expertise. A stickler for detail with an eye for design and a talent for writing, Jason is as adept at creating eye-catching marketing material as he is at planning the strategies behind goal-surpassing marketing campaigns.

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