Mike Isaac

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You Know Twitter’s “Favorite” Button? It Could Have Been Called “Thanks.”

For years now, Facebook and Twitter have had their respective “Like” and “Favorite” buttons. They’re simple, straightforward ways to show appreciation for a status update or a tweet without verbally replying (and Google, too, has its +1 button.). They’re popular, too: Facebook processes nearly three billion “Likes” on a daily basis.

Now, on Monday, according to a report from The Next Web, Twitter is tweaking its “Favorite” formula, carrying out a test with some users who are seeing “Star” or “Like” options on tweets instead of the original “Favorite” button.

Testing out different features across broad swaths of users isn’t uncommon. (Facebook does it all the time.)

But here’s something you probably didn’t know: The “Favorite” button could have been the “Thanks” button.

According to sources familiar with Twitter’s early thinking, the company was originally toying around with what to call the “Favorite” button. Along with “Favorite,” there were other popular options, such as those we’re seeing being tested now — “Like” and “Star.”

But naming the button “Thanks” was one of the most popular terms early on. A “Favorite,” if you will, among the team responsible for the feature.

Ultimately, Twitter settled on “Favorite” as the term of choice. But testing alternate versions of the button, as we’re seeing now, is a way of finding which gains the most traction among Twitter users. The company had intended to do this sort of testing for years, I’ve been told, but it was something of a low-priority item on the totem pole. Guess they finally got around to it.

As anyone I follow will tell you, I’m a huge fan of “Favoriting” and “Liking” tweets and statuses. It’s a form of affirmation, and can be used to acknowledge comments without requiring an actual verbal response. I “Favorite” tweets in earnest just as often as I do in jest. The buttons are versatile, useful, amusing.

Will Twitter decide to switch from “Favorites” to “Thanks,” or something else? I don’t know. My hope is that the testing helps others to use this fantastic, fantastic button.

Twitter politely declined to comment. (After which I promptly “Thanked” them.)

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