Create Testimonials, Bookmarks & More with Twitter Favorites

Curious about the Twitter Favorites feature and how people use it? Ari Herzog, a social media consultant providing strategies to business and government leaders, offers some tips below that everyone should consider. You can follow him on at @ariherzog and on his blog at AriWriter.

If you visit anyone’s profile on twitter.com, you can click a link marked “Favorites,” but I’m willing to bet you don’t have any.

After browsing through recent TwiTip articles, clicking on commenters’ Twitter ids, and clicking into their “Favorites” links, I can guess with fair accuracy that a mere five to ten percent of everyone reading this sentence is actively favoriting tweets.

Am I close?

There are many reasons to favorite a Twitter message, just like you might digg or stumble upon a web page, bookmark something into Delicious, or even favorite a YouTube video. But if you do the rest, why don’t you do it here?

I reached out to some of my Twitter friends to gauge their usage.

Warren Sukernek (@warrenss) provides four reasons:

  1. The tweet has a link but I don’t have time to read it.
  2. The content looks interesting to use in a future blog post.
  3. I find something humorous or insightful.
  4. I may want to retweet it later.

warrenssfavorites.png

Many people enjoy the comedic value of tweets, such as Aaron Strout (@astrout), adding he frequently stars items while mobile so he can look at a link in more detail when back at his laptop.

B.L. Ochman (@whatsnext) doesn’t have any way of bookmarking a tweet, so favorites them. She writes, I star the ones that have links I want to look at later, by people I want to check out later, and ones that make me laugh out loud.

whatsnextfavorites.png

As for me, I treat my Twitter favorites as analagous to LinkedIn recommendations. If someone tweets something noteworthy about me, I favorite it, like a testimonial. Here is a snapshot of my favorites:

ariherzogfavorites.png

The testimonial credit belongs to Marcel LeBrun, CEO of social media monitoring firm Radian6, whose marketing guru David Alston I heard speak a few months ago at a Social Media Breakfast in Boston. Before I heard about their favoriting usage, I was bookmarking things randomly, maybe like you. Here is the link for the Radian 6 favorites feed.

Looking to the future, Twitter, despite its 5 million global users, is still in its infancy. We continue to figure out the best way to use the social network. Some people tweet short messages about doing laundry and baking cookies. Brands view it as a marketing channel. Newspapers use it as a RSS feed, linking to stories elsewhere. And folks like me use Twitter to communicate, form and mature relationships, and network.

Jim Storer (@jstorerj) compares Twitter favorites to a different way of thinking about information. He elaborated in an email to me:

Twitter is absolutely a flow, but sometimes you don’t have time to consume something interesting in the stream. Set it aside for later with the favorites feature. I’d love to see more functionality here.

For instance, I’d love to enable RSS so I can subscribe to other people’s lists of favorites and feed them into my reader. It’d also be nice to have metrics around how many times a tweet had been “favorited.” Finally, getting some sense of who is favoriting my tweets might give me a sense of who I should be paying more attention to.

I would also like to know if someone favorites my tweets. As far as his other wishes, I found this application in Yahoo Pipes that enables you to subscribe to an RSS feed of what tweets all of your friends are favoriting. I imagine it can’t be hard to tweak that for other functions.

How to mark a tweet as a favorite:

  • Twitter.com: Cursor over it, and click the “star” icon on the far right.
  • SMS: Reply to the tweet and preface it with FAV.
  • Twhirl and TweetDeck: Cursor over the avatar, and click the “heart” icon.
  • TwitterBerry: Press the function button, and select “Favorite.”

I imagine other Twitter clients have similar functionality.

I think favorites are an under-used feature of the Twitter experience, and I hope this tips were helpful. Is anything missing above? Care to add any comments below?

Comments

  • January 16, 2009

    Nice post. Even i use favourites option to bookmark important tweets as there is no way to store them

  • January 16, 2009

    I have had people tell me that they favorited (if that’s a word) my tweets. I don’t use the feature; however I think I will begin to. It’s easy and makes perfect sense,; especially with TweetDeck rolling!

  • January 16, 2009

    I rarely favorite any tweet, as i like Digg more for that purpose. Still, when someone shares a good link and i want to remember it, i would just favorite that tweet rather than going to that site and adding it to bookmarks. Why to give the burden to the browser when you have the option to favorite it? :)

    Good post btw!

  • January 16, 2009

    I use it often for bookmarking and testimonials. But didn’t know abt the yahoo pipes tool. Cool tool. It can be used to track tweet-impact. Thanks for sharing

  • January 16, 2009

    I have noticed that a lot of people don’t use the feature. It would make an interesting poll.
    I use mainly to hang on to tweets with links or thoughts I want to go go back to and read/use later.

  • January 16, 2009

    Ari, I was thinking along the same lines recently – specifically “comments and conversation threads from Twitter will be placed into more and more web sites, and I think one’s ‘Favourites’ in Twitter are something that should be shared more often.”.

    I said this introducing a blog last week that proved very popular, simply made up of a selection of my favorites (favourites in my Scots English), which I rather grandly entitled Top 83 Tweets of 2008. I’d selected from my favorites mainly for their humour in this blog, but had always expected others to browse my inclusions, and so often favorite tweets when using my mobile phone to view later or to refer to friends or colleagues.

    I think there are more tools and mashups to come that will explore Twitter favorites, and allow them to be used in new and perhaps unexpected places – I’d like to see the ability to categorise, share, and as outlined above, to be able to have an RSS feed of others’ favorites, and know who has favorited your tweets.

  • January 16, 2009

    Since I’m trying to spend less time sitting on Twitter instead of doing things, I’ll dip in and out periodically. So I’ve just started favoriting tweets that look like they contain something useful or interesting, so I can go through them later.

  • January 16, 2009

    I also use favorites to save links to review later.. great for when I’m on my phone, but also useful when I simply don’t have time to give what sounds like an interesting article the attention it deserves.

  • January 16, 2009

    Darren, thanks for sharing Ari’s post. A lot of great uses for Twitter fave functionality. And I’m glad Ari had a chance to mention how Radian6 uses it. We are always thrilled when we get a tweet from a fan. We wanted to put them somewhere and voila, there was the favorites functionality. The cool thing is that it has basically become a “social media reference list” for us. Whenever someone is looking to find more folks using Radian6 we tweet the fave list link to help them out. I’ve noticed a few other firms now doing this and I encourage others to join the movement whenever I speak at some event.
    Thanks for sharing this post. Cheers. David

  • January 16, 2009

    Pure genius!
    I was about to add a lot of ‘old’ tweets to my favorites so i could read the linked info later. But i haven’t done it so far. Very useful post: it opens ones mind to what may come in the future of twitter. Coole Wurst. (<-german)

  • January 16, 2009

    Hi Darren,
    Thanks for the mention on the idea. I came up with it when I saw a pattern of tweets from people asking for other users’ opinions about our product. We are fortunate to have amazing customers who are strong advocates of our product (online and offline), but their comments were not always easy to find for the person asking for opinions, depending on who follows them. The favorites list was an easy way to point them to these opinions which have already been expressed.

    So we can use our tool to listen for such questions and then can facilitate intros & conversations with our customers by way of this favorites list. It is much better than a traditional approach of asking customers for “testimonial quotes” to put on your website which no one believes anyway. The comments on twitter are authentic because they are unsolicited plus the person who made the comment is only a tweet away.

    Will we see you in Austin this March, Darren?

    Cheers,
    Marcel

  • January 16, 2009

    I’ve been using the Favorites feature for some time to 1) save testimonials about me and programs that are being tweeted about in real time and 2) when I pose a question that I’m doing research on. In the second case I will generally do a screen shot of the responses I get and then share them on my blog, as you’ve done here. Then I let the person know I’ve included their tweet which gives further exposure to the person through my network and may drive traffic back to my blog.

  • January 16, 2009

    I’ve been using twitter for quite some time now. But, I’ve never used the favorites. I’ll check it out right away.

  • January 16, 2009

    @Scott I also use TweetDeck and as you know it’s very simple to click the heart button if something strikes your fancy.

    @Chetan: You raise a good point with Digg, but that’s for web content. What about Twitter messages that do not include links? That’s where favoriting comes into play. Your personal Digg, if you will, as part of Twitter.

    @Rahul: As you know, there are new Twitter services popping up every day, to make your Twitter experience more productive. But there are also features on twitter.com, such as favorites.

  • January 16, 2009

    Darn it. I keep forgetting about that feature.

    Thanks for reminding me!

    Cheers

    George

  • January 16, 2009

    What I wish I could do is hook my favorites up with my FriendFeed through RSS, and share good tweets with my FF friends instead of retweeting them. Is that a silly thought?

  • January 16, 2009

    Actually, you CAN subscribe to the RSS feed of someone’s Favorites. If you’re using Firefox, go to the person’s Favorites page and look for the RSS badge in the address bar. Click on it and set it up like any RSS feed. Works great and I’m using it for several people I follow.

  • January 16, 2009

    Thank you for bring this post.

  • January 16, 2009

    I love the Favorite feature of Twitter, but I often find myself away an Internet connection (and still craving Tweet Reading). Is there any way to export this favorites list into a file that doesn’t require the Internet?

  • January 16, 2009

    *laughs* I didn’t realize other people could see my favorites. Now that I know, I’ll make better use of it.

  • January 16, 2009

    Duder: To Neal Wiser’s point, you can subscribe to anyone’s favorites by RSS.

    But Neal, what if I don’t know who you are and you favorite something I wrote? That’s the sort of functionality Jim Storer suggested at the end of the piece and which (to my knowledge, unless Yahoo Pipes or such has a function) does not exist.

    LJF Wolfe: I’ve often wondered why people opt to retweet several levels of a message, rather than linking to the original tweeter and the source, e.g. instead of RT @blah RT @blah2 RT @blah3 Message Link, use something like Message Link from @blah, where @blah was the first tweeter in your stream. Something like that.

    David Petherick: You’re on to something about developing applications to mash Twitter favorites with other functions. Maybe you could touch base with David Alston and Marcel LeBrun for ideas.

    Tumblemoose and Hector: My pleasure. Hope you get something out of it!

  • January 16, 2009

    I now combine Group and Favorites at Tweetdeck. I uses Group to filter my favorite tweeties, and then then I save the top favorites tweets among them again.

    Thanks to Jodith pointing out some info that I was not aware of. Most defintive will use favorites more now after this excellent article and the response here.

    Cheers…

  • January 16, 2009

    Darren,

    As a Gospel Preacher I’ve been Using this Feature to be a blessing to those In Our Tweet Stream. A Fave makes
    it easy to come back and find the Details of Content that You Esteem to even do a Retweet should You choose to
    share, Kind of what I do with great Content Post at Delicious to Build Up Champions in God’s Army. This is a
    Feature of Twitter that can be a massive blessing for those In Your Tweet Stream. Content even like this
    Post, I Rack it at our place on Delicious to Refer to again and again. Thanks for the mention, wondering
    what will people do when they understand that they are really loved. God Did! Thanks Darren for the Post.

    Be Blessed always…Peace!

  • January 16, 2009

    You have inspired me to start some ‘favourites’ on twitter.

  • January 16, 2009

    Love the idea of using Twitter favorites as a testimonial page. I read something from @AmberCadabra a while back that talked about using Delicious as a testimonial page (bookmark all the positive things that have been said about you around the web), which is also a very cool idea. This seems like another great way to boost your reputation to customers or other interested people.

  • January 16, 2009

    I was wondering why Favourites was a feature so few had commented on. I also didn’t realise at first that favourites could be viewed by anyone. But it doesn’t matter – all the things I star are important to me in some way and fall into the categories above. And I like the fact we can share important Tweets. Definitely an under-used feature.

  • January 16, 2009

    Thanks for the help, everybody! @Ari: I have two thoughts: 1) that they’re trying to show the thread the tweet followed from @blah to them, or 2) they’re trying to twig as many vanity searches as they can. Either way, the tweet itself becomes unreadable (for space) pretty fast. Your way makes much more sense! 8-)

  • January 16, 2009
    Aaron Strout
    @aaronstrout

    Ari – great topic. I’m glad to see you included Jim Storer in your post given the fact that he is a huge fan of “favorites.” one other way I use the functionality is if I’m polling people on Twiiter. That way I can either save the results for a future post OR link people back to my favorites so that they can see the aggregate results.

    Best,
    Aaron | @aaronstrout (formerly known as @astrout)

  • January 16, 2009

    Hi Ari – When I first noticed the post live this morning I thought it might be too early and I didn’t want to “release the hounds” so to speak. Well, 28 comments later I’m back and will never make that mistake again. :-)

    As Aaron said, this is my favorite Twitter topic (pun intended). Thanks for including me and my ideas in the post. I’ve asked @ev and @twitter for some of the functionality we discussed, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. They probably have too many requests coming in to handle them all. Maybe they should hire @comcastcares…

    I’m looking forward to checking out the Yahoo Pipe you mention and trying out what Neal’s suggesting. That might get me part of the solution I’m looking for. As I mentioned when we spoke, I’m mixed on whether I should know “who” is favoriting my tweets. Instead, I just think it would be interesting to know how many people had favorited certain tweets (imagine a widget that displayed the “favorite tweets of the day/week/year” based on that count). You might end up with some crazy gaming of the system, but it would be pretty cool (and useful) to see it in action.

    Thanks again.

    Jim | @jstorerj

  • January 16, 2009

    This is a way I use my twitter favorites: If I ask a question, and receive interesting replies, I’ll favorite my question, and the replies. This would give some information to the viewers of my favorites.

  • January 16, 2009

    I’ve been using this feature for a while but I mostly just forget about it. I saw someone favourited some of my tweets recently.

    *That* made me feel pretty damn special. It’s even better than getting a Retweet to me.

  • January 17, 2009

    I favorite all mine/follower most useful tweets. I save them to read later and retweet. I have over 100 pages in my favorites. Favorites is a gold mine if you use it but I think it’s less then 5%.

    - cal

  • January 18, 2009

    An entire community of people starring other people’s humourous tweets blooms on Favrd. For them, this is a large part of their Twitter experience, tweeting witty bon mots and seeing whose tweets are getting the most stars. Some people even dedicate a separate account just for it. It’s quite fun to observe, if not participate. :)

  • January 18, 2009

    Twitter favorites is great even though I don’t use it.

    Great idea for blog posts. At the end of each week round up all your favorites from the week and make a link post. Great way to show everyone what you tweet about.

  • January 18, 2009
    Allison

    You know, I had never seen the value in favoriting, and after reading your article and seeing some good reasons for doing so, I still don’t see myself favoriting tweets. If I see a link I’m interested in, I click on it and save it to my bookmarks. I guess I see tweets as ephemeral because of the way I use Twitter. Just as I don’t write down comments people make to me in conversation, I don’t save Twitter comments. If they are interesting enough, I’m going to naturally remember them. I think the ability to save things adds to the clutter in our lives; email, voice mail, bookmarks- sometimes I feel overwhelmed. The only time I favorite a tweet is if I accidentally hit the “heart” button in Twhirl. (I wish I knew how to erase those!)

  • January 19, 2009

    I use favorites as a way of marking tweets that I find funny or memorable, but I might have to examine some of the other uses after reading this article. I love the idea of subscribing to friends’ favorites as a way of cutting through the clutter, so I hope more people start to use the favorite functionality so that this becomes a much more useful way of finding interesting content on Twitter.

  • January 23, 2009

    Use this to grab my favorites and export them to HTML (or tab-delimited): http://twitter.infinityplusone.com/?app=searchfavorites

  • January 26, 2009

    Thanks for this post. I tweeted and blogged asking about the point of Twitter favourites a little while ago (bizarrely the day before you posted this). I love the favourite feature and use it all the time. I find it’s an very easy way of sharing content that I’ve read and liked using my iPhone.

    I use favourites in a few different ways. I feed my own favourites in to my FriendFeed account and in to an RSS feed for my blog. I run this RSS feed via a Yahoo Pipe that badges the tweet as a Favourite and changes the linking if a single URL is quoted so that it goes straight to a link rather than linking to a status update (I’ve just updated the Yahoo pipe using some of what I saw in xverges pipe).

    From a separate account I also follow customers and use favourites in a similar way to Radian6, except I favourite any post where the customer talks about us.

    Thanks again for a great post, and some pointers on for some good people to follow.

  • February 6, 2009

    thanks for the tips. I had never really thought of using favorites as a “testimonials” section as you mentioned. I think that could really be a great way to use it, especially for a more professional twitter account that you’re using to try and find a job.

    Personally i currently use favorites as a way to mark links to read later, usually marked as favorites from my ipod touch, and to be read later on my home pc.

  • March 19, 2009

    Thanks, you have some excellent points and idea about using Favorites. I started to think differently about my own use of Twitter Favorites when I realized that Favorites are public content; a visitor to your Twitter profile can view your Favorites without being logged into the Twitter service. So I think about saving tweets as Favorites that would be meaningful to a visitor. You can find an alternative viewpoint for using Twitter Favorites here:

    http://saieva.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/the-most-overlooked-feature-of-twitter/

    Regards,

    Sal.

    Salvatore Saieva

  • April 15, 2009

    Sorry I haven’t read ALL of the comments here but it was a great article nonetheless. Have you ever heard of FAVRD? Essentially it mines Twitter Favorites and puts them all in one handy site. I’ve been using this for about a week now and it’s an interesting and diverse way to see the cream rising to the top of Twitter.

  • July 29, 2009

    I’ve been using Favourites extensively for most of the reasons you cite here. Thanks for the Yahoo Pipes info – very useful. Also to Greg re FAVRD – will check them out.
    One of my biggest challenges now I have a lot of Tweets favourited is that TweetDeck only displays the last few weeks. Being able to export them all elsewhere will be very useful. Another challenge is re-finding specifric Favourites – need to categorise them in some way… any ideas ?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.