Not content with causing enough of a stir when switching out their original favourite (star) button to a like (heart) one in 2015, it seems Twitter will not rest until they have infuriated every single user of the platform out there. Founder Jack Dorsey reportedly said at a Twitter event last week that he would get rid of the like function “soon”, adding he “was not a fan of the heart-shaped button.”
The aim of this move is said to be to encourage more debate on the platform. “We have a big like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up,” Dorsey said. “Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentivize healthy conversation?”
Whilst there’s good reason to try and encourage healthy debate and conversation on the platform, something they already moved towards by increasing the 140-character limit (also to mixed response), there is still a lot to be said for people being able to show their appreciation for a point of view or a piece of branded content without having to respond or share that with their own followers who might not necessarily have the same interest in it as they do.
Simply put; for brands, this would be at the very least an annoyance, or at most a disaster for their engagement figures. Just because you scroll your feed and see a real nice looking meal doesn’t mean you want to respond to it saying “Hey, that’s a fine looking meal you’re tweeting a photo of there”. Liking is a simple way to show your appreciation for the content you’re being served; be it a friends anecdote from their journey to work, a new range of sports gear from one of your favourite brands or some charity work for a cause you hold close to your heart. People and brands appreciate likes, and users like to click that little heart button, so why remove the function?
It could be that they’re gearing up to make way for other new features like the long-requested edit button (Terrible idea. Don’t get me started on that one.). Maybe this is just another self-engineered rumour to cause a buzz around the platform? Either way, it certainly won’t do much to help silence critics who insist Twitter refuses to make changes which can genuinely help reduce the abusive behaviour many users are subjected to on their platform.
One thing, though, is for sure. Should this occur there will be a sea change in the way brands approach their strategy for Twitter, as they look for ways to generate more conversation and create content which is more shareable than likeable.
All that said, we’re skeptical as to whether this will actually happen. It would be a weird thing to do, but, then again, this is a site that blocks you if you change your name to Elon Musk.
Give us your likes, people. They might be the last we get.
Written by James Travis
Social Media Manager