I’ve never really been a fan of tapping a “Like” button on Facebook. Mostly because it doesn’t always mean that I like something. I use that button as a way to say “hey I looked at this and it meant something”, but maybe I use Facebook incorrectly. Today, The Next Web surfaced what seems to be a test on Twitter, with the labels of “like” and “star” instead of the word “favorite” when it comes to tweets.
I’m not really digging it, but take a look:
Ok, so it’s not a huge deal and it’s not a test that’s reaching all users as of yet, but it’s a direction that I’m not sure that Twitter should go towards. The word “like” just makes users think too much before using the button, plus it could change the meaning and usage of the button moving forward in the future. I’m sure Twitter is thinking about all of these things, that’s why the company seems to be testing this in a limited fashion.
Twitter has no comment on it at the moment, so I won’t dive into a rabbit hole here, companies test things all of the time. An A-B test helps big networks decide what’s good and what’s not, and it’s probably a case of Twitter just interested in seeing if a change of language moves the needle on engagement. See this post from May about experimentation on Twitter:
In order to offer you the simplest and most engaging Twitter experience, we frequently test hundreds of variations of new features and designs with small groups of users. We test everything from subtle tweaks in the language of our sign-up pages and removing the search box from our homepage to big shifts in navigation elements. These experiments help us understand what experiences people like best or use most often. When an experiment ends, we study the results and roll out the most successful variation to everyone as soon as we can.
Having said that, I like the word favorite, but not as much as I like “star.” To me, Star means bookmark, which is a general term that means I want to save something for later, or say that I really dug what was said. The word like locks me in…as I could “like” something that I really “hate.” Testing doesn’t lie, but I really hope that the test on “like” fails, because that’s Facebook’s game, and I’m not really a fan of it.
Facebook started adding other actions through Open Graph, so perhaps this is a sign that Twitter might be heading in that direction, too. Google went the opposite direction with +1 on Google+. Could we see a “watch” button for videos, or “view” for photos on Twitter? It would be interesting to see.
I still see “Favorite” on Twitter’s site, and I’m ok with that.
UPDATE: According to Favorite-Twitter-Favoriter Mike Isaac at ATD, the button was almost originally named “Thanks”