Sunday, November 8, 2015

Three reasons why I don't like Twitter’s “like” icon

Twitter: @Oosterenvan

When Twitter finally created its “like” icon recently (the little heart), at first I was very happy. Because for a year or so I was frustrated not to be able to thank tweeters by “liking” nice tweets like I do on Facebook. 

I did have the option however to give the sender a sort of “like” signal by favoriting the tweet via Twitter’s “favorite” icon (the little star). But I didn’t do that because I use the favorite icon for another specific purpose, namely to save potentially interesting tweets to read the links in it when I have time. My favorite tweets are just my tweets-to-read list, I don't know yet what I think about them.

And then suddenly Twitter gave us the long expected like icon! I immediately "liked" a tweet from a colleague that I had favorited earlier just because I liked it very much. I was already looking for a way to reward the sender but hadn’t found a solution yet. The tweet contained a selfie of the sender in his personal environment with an interesting thought about it. Typically a tweet I never would have favorited because there was no link in it to read later. And so finally I was able to happily thank him by sending him a well-deserved “like”. 

So far the good news about the like icon: it made it possible for me to quickly express my positive feelings about tweets to their senders. Now the bad news: when the like icon came out, the favorite icon disappeared. This caused the following three problems for me. 

First, I am no longer able to fill my tweets-to-read-list just by "mechanically" favoriting potentially interesting tweets without showing any judgement or emotional commitment. Worse: Twitter obliges me now to “like” all these potentially interesting tweets even though I might find out I don’t like them at all! 

Secondly, even if I do appreciate a tweet, I might not necessarily want to reward the sender by “liking” it. I like a lot of people, but don’t expect me to hug each one them each time I see them. Obliging me to do so makes me feel very uncomfortable.

Thirdly, even if I decide to “like” a tweet I appreciated after having read it, I still have to “unlike” it right away to clean up my reading list. The problem is that this gives the sender a very confusing message because it is shows as “minus one like”, as if I had changed my mind about it!

I want to conclude by a wish. I hope Twitter brings the favorite icon back or adds a “save tweet” option like Facebook has. This way I can quietly enjoy looking for information pearls without kissing and hugging the whole planet.  

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