Twitter Likes: Reaction from We Are Social, Sunshine, Mindshare, Carat and Ogilvy & Mather

Twitter has announced that it is adopting a Likes system for each post, moving away from the long established favourites using stars, to a more positive heart symbol instead. The Drum spoke to some of the digital marketing industry's leading minds for reaction.

Jerry Daykin, global digital and client director, Carat

Hearts are a universal symbol and show Twitter's continued commitment to making their platform simple and approachable - in contrast to Facebook's trials of different Reactions it shows that you can still communicate a lot of interest with the lightest of touches.

With many users not sending their own messages, these hearts & retweets are a core part of an average person's engagement on the platform.

Amy Kean, regional director - strategy, APAC, Mindshare

The new heart means a lot and very little at the same time. From a user perspective, I doubt many people will dwell on the update for a significant period of time. For marketers however, it's yet another manifestation of the 'emotional web' that allows us to become far more in tune with how consumers think and feel.

Similar to Facebook's Reactions announced last month, this is another way of dragging declarations of feeling from consumers with a view to ultimately collecting more meaningful data, which is obviously great for agencies and brands. Targeting someone by emotion or mindset rather than something they flippantly said they were interested in two years ago is arguably going to be more relevant and effective in the long run.

The heart is just one step in what is likely to be an even more agile, adaptive and emotional dialogue with the Twitter audience.

Gemma Milne, creative lab technologist, Ogilvy & Mather

Don't like it - lots of people use it as a bookmark...not necessarily stuff they like. Harrowing news stories? It's not always used as a positive agreement or anything. A heart means love, a star means bookmark. Think about how the chrome / internet explorer etc bookmarks have looked, a heart is Facebook's emotional like. Feel like it was a daft thing to do. What was wrong with the star anyway?! Twitter isn't all above love and that, it's about honesty and opinion and news. The heart makes it feel fluffy etc which I don't like.

Jim Coleman, managing director, We Are Social

The change from 'favourite' to 'like' is yet another move by Twitter to make the platform easier to understand. Thanks to Facebook, people are familiar and comfortable with the concept of a like. And I think Twitter hit the nail on the head when it said “You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favourite" - it wants to see users engaging with content that resonates more regularly. This move will almost certainly drive interaction rates on tweets up, which will be good news for Twitter as it looks to show progress to its investors and attract ad revenue from brands. However, it does mean Twitter loses another differentiator; it needs to be careful not to forget what makes it unique in its bid to keep users.

Nadya Powell, managing director, Sunshine

Let's be honest in a world of frequent social media shake-ups the move by Twitter from stars to hearts is pretty minor. And whether you like them or not probably comes down to how frivolous you are with emotional expressions. I heart the heart. But then I sign off every email with an x. The real story, as always in social media world, is everyone's reaction to the change. Jeremy Corbyn's is especially LOLZ. Heart.

Dan Spicer, social business and community consultant

The star has finally died - although it's been a long time coming. There has always been confusion around the favourite button. Does it mean "I sort of like your tweet but not enough to retweet it", or "that's interesting but I don't have time to read it, I'll save that for later" or "here's a good way to get into your notification feed, hopefully you’ll see it and follow me".

Early-adopters used it as a bookmarking feature, but the majority seemed to start using it as a ‘like’ button – exactly what the heart has become. As Twitter put it, it’s a symbol that resonates across languages, cultures and time zones - however, more importantly, ‘liking’ is something we have become accustomed to across the world’s largest social networks – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, so they’re playing catch up.

I still want to bookmark tweets though – how long until we get our ‘save for later’ button?

Dom Burch, senior director of marketing innovation & revenue, Asda

It's a pity they hadn't held on until valentine's day, but other than that, makes sense. Old hands and affionados of Twitter will no doubt mourn the loss of the favourite star, but most people won't care or notice too much. For new users it will make the first step on Twitter more familiar.

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