Twitter ditches stars for hearts to become less confusing to newbies

Because that's what's confusing about Twitter: the stars.

Every social network has a way of letting you show that you like, love, or agree with a post. Facebook has the thumbs-up sign. Instagram has hearts. Since 2006, Twitter has used bright yellow stars, known to users as favorites, to let people show appreciation for tweets. But the platform is under pressure to add new users and prove it’s not just a torrential flood of news that’s impossible to keep up with, so its new solution: replace stars with hearts.

twitter hearts web

The difference between hearting this baked potato and marking it as my favorite is huge.

Twitter product manager Akarshan Kumar outlined the reasoning behind the move from favorites to likes in a Tuesday blog post:

“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.”

OK, that’s not exactly how the stars work—users fave tweets they like, yes, but they also use the star to acknowledge a tweet without responding and to save a tweet to refer to later. But Kumar continues:

“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.”

Twitter owns live-streaming app Periscope, which uses hearts to let viewers show their appreciation for a live-stream. That’s useful for broadcasters, because they can see animated hearts bubble up to the top of the screen as affirmation that people tuning in like what they see. Now the network is bringing hearts to Twitter and Vine to “make them the common language for our global community.” Twitter is updating its apps for iOS, Android, and Windows 10, its website, and TweetDeck with the new method of liking tweets. Twitter for Mac and Vine for iOS will be updated soon, the company said.

Why this matters: Twitter is making itself more like Facebook and Instagram in an effort to be a more welcoming place to newcomers, who are familiar with the shorthand on other social networks but not with Twitter’s bizarre insider language. But stars versus hearts is not the battle Twitter should be fighting. There are other, more pressing issues that the company could address to make the platform easier to use. Now Twitter risks alienating its core base of power users like journalists, who use the favorite button to bookmark tweets they want to save or articles they want to read later. In that way, a star functions differently from a heart. And Facebook is now moving away from the straightforward like button by testing emoji reactions after users requested more options for responding to posts.

Is Twitter moving in the right direction with this new feature? What do you think Twitter should do to become a better network? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags FacebooktwitterVine

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Caitlin McGarry

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?