The “Favorite” button on twitter was once used for storing a list of favorites and mostly a “Read it later” list. But after twitter introduced some changes it evolved into something else. The apparently innate need for “liking” things on the web is slowly taking over, and more people are using the “favorite” button exactly as a facebook “like”:
- you indicate that you like something without resharing it with your followers/friends. You wouldn’t share it yourself, but it has grabbed your attention / made you laugh and you want to perform some action on it.
- you tell the author that you like or appreciate it. It’s not uncommon to favorite replies – something that would never happen before, is now a way to say “great” to the author without actually writing a reply.
- your action appears aggregated to some users, but you don’t know which and when. Facebook likes don’t always appear on your friends’ news feed, and your favorites are rarely visible to your followers, unless they go to “#Discover”.
There’s a bonus here – all your favorites are tracked, unlike the volatile “likes”.
This change of behavior makes twitter (retweet and favorite) even more the same with facebook (share and like) and Google+ (share and +1). Whether that’s good or bad doesn’t matter, but one thing is clear – people need to like/favorite/+1/pin/etc. things on the web.