On Twitter, if you like a tweet, you can re-tweet it, putting it into your own feed. Or you can fav it: Pressing “favorite” is a more passive way to engage with someone else’s tweet, a kind of head-nod. It’s a smart feature because it allows users a low-stakes way to interact with each other, so it fosters more frequent interactions. (As Twitter’s stock falls, I’d like to take this moment and give the blue bird a lil pat on its feathery back for developing something smart and not messing it up.)
Twitter hasn’t messed with favorites, but it is experimenting with them; as first spotted by Yahoo’s Drew Olanoff, Twitter for Android users can now favorite other users, not just individual tweets.
Fav’ing accounts on twitter? Hmmm pic.twitter.com/SLOkziMYZw
— drew olanoff (@drew) December 24, 2013
I’m not entirely sure what this accomplishes, but it creates a new low-stakes positive feedback loop, so it’s probably not going to make anyone mad the way the micro-blogging site’s recent ill-advised changes to its blocking policy did. If you favorite an account using the Android app, you’ll get push notifications whenever that person tweets. It sounds very annoying, which is why I’m hoping this feature will get tweaked before it rolls out to more versions of Twitter (that is, if it rolls out to more versions of Twitter – it could end up being a short-lived experiment).
Facebook currently allows you to select top friends, which spurs additional notifications whenever these selected friends do anything, and this fav experiment seems to resemble that function, although The Next Web pointed out it could’ve been inspired by China’s Sina Weibo, which has a “recommended accounts” section so you can display who you think others should follow. CNBC’s Eli Langer thinks this could lead to something like “#followfriday on steroids.”
Digital Trends reached out to Twitter for comment and will update if a response is received.