Favourites – The new way of saying thank you on Twitter

Since Twitter redesigned it’s apps, and later the main Twitter.com website, “Favourites” have become more and more prominent. While previously Favourites were a semi-private collection that allowed some to bookmark posts, recent changes mean that they are now a prominent form of interaction between users.

Favourites are now shown in a clear list along with re-tweets in the redesigned ‘Interactions’ tab. Additionally, you can see what people you follow are favouriting in the ‘Discover’ of Twitter.

Twitter told Buzzfeed that people are now Favouriting things as an acknowledgement, they are ‘favourites’ for the poster – more and more people are favouriting replies sent to them. The graph published by Buzzfeed shows the steep in rise in this kind of interaction:

#LetsFly is ‘new’ Twitter, introduced at the start of 2012, and the graph clearly shows that the design changes prompted an increase in favouriting @-replies. This may not actually be good news for Twitter as it makes Favourites less useful as part of  a social graph, although any feature being used more is obviously broadly positive for the company.

BuzzFeed also say that the graph “indicates a shift in what people think tweets are: objects rather than posts; units of media rather than simple links.” I’m not so sure. I just simply think as people use a service more, and it becomes part of their everyday way of communicating, they adapt to how they want to use it, particularly when the design of a service is updated.

We are all look for ways to archive our increasingly digitised lives, and this is increasingly important on Twitter, where postings are often dismissed as ephemeral and instant. By  favouriting a message that made you smile or has some other significance it gives that message a degree of permanence that it did not previously have.

The trend of building some permanence and systematic archiving into our noisy and chaotic social networks  is only likely to continue.