Is Twitter dividing its userbase over hearts and stars?

Is Twitter dividing its userbase over hearts and stars?

The dawn of the war between hearts and stars may soon be upon us. Prepare yourself, and be ready to choose a side.

This morning, in a blog post on the MTV Video Music Awards, the company showed off tweets featuring the customized moonman emoji for the event. But it wasn’t the most interesting icon in the photo: the tweets in question had hearts on the “Favorite” button. Twitter has since corrected those photos to remove the icons, but the original photos remain in the cached version.

We reported on the hearts test back in June, but Twitter’s (likely unintentional) use of hearts in an official blog post has us thinking: are we going to have to choose between the star and the heart?

Twitter told TNW that the test is now on Android, iPhone and Web, but refused to admit it’s taking any action beyond classic Twitter “experimenting.” So, don’t start clinging to your stars just yet.

9,000 *hearts*

But it’s hard to ignore the fact that Twitter is tweaking its own signature recipe. Stars have denoted the “Favorite” action in Twitter since the historic first tweet, when Jack Dorsey still called the platform “Twttr.” The star has been integral to Twitter’s iconography — I still give and receive dozens per day as a lowly plebe left out of the hearts testing group.

The star has also lead many to use the “Favorite” tool in different ways, as stars aren’t entirely tied to a human emotion. You can fave something on Twitter to tell someone you read their tweet, that you like their tweet, or just that it’s worth saving for later. These myriad intentions could diminish with the introduction of the heart or something similar, specifically because there’s emotion and intention tied to the heart. It means you like something. You can’t hate-fave something if you’re giving your enemy a heart.


But I guess the more important question is: Why? My colleague Mic Wright suggested that when hearts made their debut in the first place, it was perhaps a move to push Twitter’s brand in line with Periscope, which uses hearts as its quick-reaction mechanism. If that were the case, why didn’t Twitter consider using Vine’s smiley face? And, if hearts do become the norm, will that smiley be on the chopping block as well?

It’s clear that people are going to have strong reactions to the icon change, depending on your personal feelings about Twitter and whether you really love Instagram. Out of a democratic vote, TNW has come out endorsing the incumbent, the star.

So where do you stand? Let us know.

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