They Like Me, They Really Like Me! New Twitter Activity Feed Is Sticky and Sweet.
Twitter today revealed the underbelly of its service, and it’s not dark — it’s happy and friendly!
By displaying users’ favorited tweets more prominently as a feature of the new Activity tab — which is currently accessible to only a small percentage of users — Twitter exposes and encourages positive feedback.
And there’s this weird thing about receiving positive feedback: It makes us feel good and want to participate more.
Like the Google+ “+1″ button and the Facebook “Like” button, the Twitter “Favorite” is a simple gesture that requires little effort or creativity.
(Personally, the version of this that just gets me in the feel-good gut is the Instagram “Like,” which is sent via push notification on the iPhone whenever another user clicks a little “heart” button under a photo you’ve posted.)
Before the Activity tab, Twitter favorites were sort of a personal bookmarking tool. Some users even made a habit of announcing “fav’d!” to those whose tweets they had favorited … using a whole ‘nother tweet. To that end, independent developer and blogger Jason Kottke built a service called Stellar that combines favorited items from Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
But now within the Twitter Activity tab, favoriting a tweet is an action unto itself, shown to other users.
(Though when I think about it, this kind of usage of favoriting seems a lot like how some people use Twitter’s “Retweet” function already. Only now it has a much happier and less geeky label.)
As Twitter investor Chris Sacca posted tonight, “And just like that, Twitter discovered dopamine.”
Meanwhile, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures managing partner Bryce Roberts had the cynical rejoinder: “let the fav spamming begin!”