‘Favoriting’ on Twitter is More Discreet than Re-Tweeting

The “favorite” feature in Twitter allows users to mark a tweet and keep it, such as a bookmark in a Web browser. When favoriting, it signals the originator that it has been marked, without a public acknowledgement in a feed. Favoriting is also another way to affirm the value of a tweet, but can also be tracked, which is what Favstar is doing. The company monitors favorites, and ranks tweets and their creators by the favorites that they generate.

Last May, Twitter users accessed the favorite feature 1.6 million times. This is four times more than last year, according to Topsy, a data analytics company.

The increase in favoriting, or “starring” as it is also called, is a less public way to engage other Twitter users. Instead of retweeting comments or posts that all users can easily see, favoriting is a much quieter nod among users.

“On Twitter’s website or its smartphone apps, user profiles include a favorites tab that reveals a list of the user’s favorite tweets,” notes The Wall Street Journal.  “But it takes several clicks to land on that list, and in the twitterverse, that is a lot of effort.”

Tweet favoriting is another way to measure Twitter standing. Favstar is a website that ranks tweets and tweeters by the favorites they create. Founded in 2009, it has three million monthly users, and is now becoming a resource to help users find writers or comedians.

Favoriting tweets is the most valuable of Twitter currency, notes John Manoogian III, founder of 140 Proof, a social-advertising company. Manoogian explains that a tweet with many favorites often suggests that it has caused people to laugh spontaneously — and to quickly hit the star icon as a show of appreciation. “Favorites are like a secret discovery mechanism to find who is the funniest.”