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