Foot, meet bullet

Twitter evidently thinks this is a really swell idea:

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.

What people? Earth people? The heart symbol does not “convey a range of emotions.” It conveys exactly one emotion — admittedly, a complex one, but still only one.

And “like” makes as much sense in this context as it does on Facebook, which is to say none at all. Zeynep Tufekci has already explained this once:

Let me explain with a sad example. I saw a heartbreaking video recently, two refugee kids wading in water among floating dead bodies, being brought, finally, to safety. A man comforts them, “come on baby,” he says, “we made it,” while the children cry. It broke my heart. This is a topic I write about often, and one my social network cares deeply about, as many are from the war-wrecked region producing these refugees.

I read your piece about native video. So I downloaded the video, and uploaded it natively to Facebook, just to make sure. I published it as a public status update. The first comment I get is on how my friend cannot “like” it.

And of course, lacking actual likes, the video goes largely unseen:

It will mostly get ignored, because my social network has no way to signal to the algorithm that this is something they care about.

Of course, that was Facebook. Does Twitter make situations like this look any better?

I’ll take that as a “No.” Twitter didn’t think this one out; all they can see is well, Facebook has it, and Facebook is making money.

And if my Twitter feed is at all representative, a lot of people do not “love” it.





2 comments

  1. McGehee »

    4 November 2015 · 1:36 pm

    Ever play that old Parker Brothers (IIRC) board game, “Careers”? Twitter has replaced the “fame” icon with the one for “happiness.” When they adopt the dollar sign, I am there.

  2. CGHill »

    4 November 2015 · 5:32 pm

    Hasbro, successor to Parker Brothers, seems to have dropped the game; there has been at least one reissue by Winning Moves since then.

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