Hold on there, you thought I was going to say absolutely nothing, didn’t you? I have found that the Twitter favorite button gets a lot of people confused, especially people just starting in social media. People get the lazy-man’s stamp of approval; the “like” on Facebook, but when it comes to Twitter, the favorite seems to freak people out.
When I decided, earlier this week to write about the Twitter Fav, I thought back to when I was young. (Come on Jim, where are you going with this) Growing up, my mother cared for clients in our home that had learning disabilities of varying degrees. They lived with my mom, dad, four siblings and I. They were part of our family. One gentleman that lived with us was named Whitey. He would have been in his 40’s at the time, but had the mind of an 8-10 year old. He loved country music. In the summers, my mother would allow Whitey to walk with me down to the local service station, where old man Warner sold penny candy. Whitey loved to go and he always brought his radio, tuned to the country station of course. Besides the candy, the most memorable part of those walks for me, was every, single time a new song would come on that old silver and black radio, Whitey’s face would light up and he would say to me, “Merle Haggard, my favorite,” or “Johnny Cash, my favorite,” or “Patsy Cline, my favorite.” It didn’t matter, whatever song came on, it was Whitey’s favorite. This leads me to my first, practical use of the Twitter favorite button.
Just showing your approval, it’s as simple as that. Some people use it similar to the ”like” button on Facebook. I like it, or I agree with what you are saying, without replying. There are some more ways to use it, but this is the most straight-forward.
The next way, that you can use it is to catalog tweets that you want to revisit. When you favorite a tweet, it not only notifies the sender of the tweet, but also adds that tweet to a favorites list that can be found on your Me page. Sometimes, you only have a few minutes to look at Twitter, you find a tweet with an interesting article, or a compelling tweet that needs replying to, but do not have the time. Just hit the favorite button, and come back to it later.
Another use is to get the attention of the poster. This offers interaction on a tweet that is a little more discrete. Unlike a retweet, your followers will not see the interaction unless they actually go into your favorites list. The only people that are notified is the tweet poster and anyone that is mentioned in the Favorited tweet. This tactic is starting to fall in popularity though, mostly because it is a tactic that is associated with bots and other spam accounts. It is assumed that most people will follow an account that acknowledges what they are tweeting. These bot and spam accounts use this as a way to gain followers, without mass following and drawing attention to themselves.
If you are trying to target a specific audience, the favorite can be used in reverse. If you see a tweet that corresponds with your interests, some Twitter users will expand the tweet, see who Favorited it, and begin to follow those accounts. This makes sense on paper, because the person has similar interests to yours. If you chose to do this, remember that the bot and spam accounts are frequenting the favorites, and you may be adding some nefarious characters instead of people who really share your interests.
There are many uses for the button and each user has to come up with there own strategy for using it. I have heard about a football player that favorites trash-talk from his critics. He said that it is more powerful than lowering himself with a reply. There are no written rules for it’s use, so don’t be afraid to use it. I often get the question, about the impact the button has on social scoring sites like Klout. They want to know if it helps the Tweet poster, the person who Favorites, both or neither. I have done some research into this and have yet to come up with a definitive answer, only other peoples’ guesses. My personal thoughts are that it is an action on social media, so it can’t hurt the scores.
As always, if you have questions please leave them below in the comment section.
To your online success,