Twitter "Favorite" is not the same as Facebook "Like"

Something I've noticed lately is that some users are treating the Twitter "Favorite" function as equivalent to the Facebook "Like" function. They may seem equivalent, but the functions have important difference.

Favorites and Retweets on Twitter
When you Favorite something on Twitter, it's a designation that is for your use. Twitter allows you to sort out your Favorited tweets in a separate list. In that regard, the Favorite function behaves like a bookmarking tool. From a personal usage standpoint, this is quite convenient, as it lets you keep track of people, links, comments and other tweet material that you found valuable and want to keep track of.

However, when you Favorite a tweet, that designation is made known only to you and to the originator of the tweet. For example, on my Interactions page, I can see that many people Favorited some of the hashtaggery tweets I sent out. I can also see that one of those tweet was Retweeted twice. Consider this from the standpoint of the rest of Twitter. While I'm pleased and gratified that my tweets were worthy of being Favorited, the rest of Twitter doesn't see that. They can't see your endorsement of my slivers of wit unless you Retweet them.

"If you want to laud and promote someone on
Twitter, use Retweet. On Facebook, use Like."

In contrast, when you "Like" something on Facebook, the world can see that you liked it. The world can also see how many other people Liked it. This is, in the parlance of social media, a form of crowd-wisdom vetting or endorsement. For example, this post by Monica Marier (author of the "Must Love Dragons" series and generally delightful person) has 23 Likes (at last count), with 6 comments. Monica can see this level of endorsement, just as she could see Favorites on Twitter. Additionally, however, anyone else reading their Facebook timeline would see right away that, in the opinion of these 23 people, this post has merit.

Likes and Shares on Facebook
Also in contrast to Twitter, if someone were to Share this on Facebook, that wouldn't be apparent by looking at the original post. The Shared post would have a "via X" designation over on the other person's timeline, but simply by looking at this post, I can see that 23 people Liked it, but I can't tell if it went any further than this.

Why do I care about this difference between a Twitter Favorite and a Facebook Like? Why should you?

The coin of the realm in social media is amplification. Telling the original author that you enjoyed their work is a good thing. Telling other people that you enjoyed that author's work is even better. Facebook combines these in the Like function. Twitter combines them in, not in the Favorite function, but rather in the Retweet function. If you've Retweeted something, the endorsement is implicit for the original author.

To summarize: If you want to laud and promote someone on Twitter, use Retweet. On Facebook, use Like.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

8 comments:

  1. Great post, Tony! I, like you, appreciate it when someone favorites a post I make on Twitter, but so what? Like you say, I'm the only one who sees it. Retweets are certainly the way to go to show appreciation on Twitter. Also, it helps to keep in mind that most of your clever tweets will be enjoyed in the moment and never passed along or given real praise. At least I hope that's what's going on with my "clever" tweets. It's better than the alternative thought of everyone simply ignoring them...

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    1. Thanks, Eric! Twitter is typically pretty ephemeral, but I've sometimes been surprised when one of my tweets keeps bouncing around for a while through retweeting.

      There used to be separate camps of Facebook users and Twitter users. As that melds together, there's an increase the corpus of people who carry the usage habit from their primary platform (whether Facebook or Twitter) over to the other.

      They are rather different, and it's worth taking the time to use them properly.

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  2. Now do I "like" this post or "tweet" it or "favourite" it?

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  3. It all depends, of course, on whether you want to amplify the post - in other words, if you want to send it to your friends. As you say, "favoriting" is for your personal use. As such, you shouldn't assume that other people go scrolling through your favorites to dig out nuggets of gold. But you can't assume that just because somebody favorited a tweet that they really want to send it to all of their friends. I sometimes favorite things as a reminder to myself to go back and read a link. Then, later, once i've read it i may or may not retweet it, depending on whether it was retweet-worthy or not. I also favorite things that are inspirational to me that may or may not be retweet-worthy. It is important to understand the differences of the various functions, however, so you know what in the heck to do with something that you see on either facebook or twitter that interests you.

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  4. This evening Facebook introduced a feature that Facebook Hack many users have been asking - the ability to edit their comments.

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  5. Thanks for this great blog post. So many ppl Favorite thinking that it's the same as RT. I just shared this post via my Twitter.

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  6. Ooooh this gets my goat!

    I recently blogged about favourites being used like likes on my blog http://www.warwicktweetup.co.uk/blog/i-don-t-like-your-favourites-on-twitter/

    In fact I've started a mini campaign on my Twitter @warwicktweetup (only to have most of the tweets 'favourited' in irony).

    I too love that people dig my posts, but wish everyone knew the difference as I genuinely think many of my favourite givers are trying to share my content, or rather that they would do if they knew the difference.

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  7. It appears that Twitter themselves have decided that 'Favorite' is for 'liking' a tweet now. And I can see tweets favorited by those I'm following on my news feed now.
    https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169874-favoriting-a-tweet

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