Twitter swaps the ‘favorite’ for the ‘like’

Twitter has done away with the “favorite” button in a move that signals yet more changes for the social network.
Twitter has steadily become more like Facebook over the last few years. It’s redesigned its profiles, emphasized photos, and removed the character limit from its direct messages. All of these changes make its service more welcoming to people who have only ever used Facebook as their primary social network.
With today’s update, whenever someone wants to indicate their approval of a decent tweet or Vine, they’ll be asked to “like” it instead of being given the option of clicking the “Favorite” button. The intent is the same — it’s just that the name for pressing that button, which is now a heart instead of a star, has received an update. (Basically, instead of seeing a star to favorite, you’ll now see a heart.)
Periscope users won’t notice a change. The live-streaming service has featured since its debut multi-colored hearts people send whenever they like what they see. Twitter believes that bringing these hearts to its other services (the main Twitter service and Vine) will make them easier for newcomers to understand.
“You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite,” Twitter’s Akarshan Kumar says in a blog post. “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.”
Kumar’s reasoning might be a little dramatic, but being a global service requires Twitter to find a symbol that everyone can understand. And it doesn’t make sense for one Twitter app to feature hearts while the others have stars. But there might be another reason for this change: Being more like Facebook.
Changing the “favorite” to the “like” is another small way Facebook users could feel more welcome on Twitter. The language was confusing — a person really should only be able to have one “favorite” tweet at a time — and different from Facebook’s “like” merely for the sake of distancing Twitter from that service.
Will it mean much in the long run? Not really. People will complain about the change at first, then they’ll use it the same way they used the “favorite” button, and then a whole bunch of Twitter users will never know that button existed. But even this small of a change could make Twitter a little more approachable.
“We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use,” Kumar says in his post, “and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers.” Now that itty-bitty barrier to entry has been bulldozed over.

The new LinkedIn homepage is all about the warm fuzzies

LinkedIn introduced small but significant changes to its homepage design Thursday, simplifying its newsfeed and highlighting some interaction features that will come to all users next year. The shifts in the design bring the connection element of the service front and center, encouraging users to build their relationships with each other over time.

The first most obvious change is the number of user views at the top of the page. It gives someone a snapshot of how many people saw the content they post. LinkedIn offered these features before, but they were buried in the righthand sidebar, out of eyesight. “We realized this was something we needed to bring front and center to the desktop,” LinkedIn VP Joff Redfern told me.

New LinkedIn homepage design

New LinkedIn homepage design

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 2.00.10 PM

Old LinkedIn homepage design


LinkedIn is also doubling down on its content strategy, no doubt following behind competitors like Facebook. When there are compelling articles and posts to peruse on a social network feed, its users stick around longer. And the best way to motivate users to post is to highlight the feedback they receive when they do.

Keeping with that theme, the company has cleaned up its newsfeed. There’s less button clutter at the top, drawing users attention straight to the content.

The second change to LinkedIn’s homepage is the Keep in Touch system in the top right corner. You can quickly click through profile cards to see who has had big business changes recently, from adding new photos to switching jobs. It makes it easy for you to congratulate them or touch base in these moments, keeping the relationship strong. It’s based on LinkedIn’s Connected app, which was designed to help people stay in touch with professional contacts.

A wide range of users liked it, so LinkedIn decided to introduce it to a wider audience via the desktop app. “These two brand new modules are so important for keeping track of how you’re doing professionally that without them that stuff was harder,” Redfern said. “Now we’re giving the member that ability.”

Springpad wants to organize your Facebook Timeline

Note-taking service Springpad wants access to your Facebook profile. Why? It wants to scrape all of those random “likes” of movies, music, restaurants and TV shows scattered throughout your Timeline and organize them into notebooks, which you and your friends can search and share.

Are we becoming slaves to the “like” button?

A Wall Street Journal article argues that the proliferation of “like” buttons, retweets and other online voting encourages conformity in online behavior, and that we don’t reveal our “true selves” online because we are afraid of being voted down by the crowd. But is this true?