Twitter is doing a little experiment with its time line, and people on Twitter are freaking out. Some people have seen tweets that are favorited by friends show up in their timeline.
If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of Twitter, here’s what that means. On Twitter, there are a few core things you can do. You can tweet, which is expressing yourself. You can retweet, which just sends out someone else’s message to your followers. You can reply, which is answering someone. And you can favorite, which is hitting the little star on a tweet. Of those actions, the favorite is the least clearly defined. For some people, it’s a way of saying, “Cool tweet dude!” For others, it’s a way to bookmark a link or a tweet for later reference. For some other people, it’s like a head nod, or an acknowledgment. It’s a way of saying, “I see you’re tweet, though there is no need for me to reply.” Another thing about favorites: They feel the most private of all the aforementioned actions.
Until now, they were hard to see by outsiders. As a result of the favorite being so unclear of meaning, and so inherently personal/private people are a bit panicked that their favorites are going to start populating into people’s feeds. Here’s the thing, though. Twitter is always experimenting with Twitter. It always tests things in small batches to see how people react. If it doesn’t make sense, Twitter kills it and that’s that. The reaction to this experiment is important for Twitter as a company overall.
It looks like Twitter employees are sticking up for themselves and this experiment on Twitter:
@hunterwalk @tmobrien Amazing how similar your concerns are to those of the average person trying to use Twitter. — Christian Oestlien (@christianism) August 17, 2014
Always fun to see innovators express aversion to change. Typical response, “Well, because it’s the WRONG change, obviously.” Obviously. — Trevor O’Brien (@tmobrien) August 17, 2014