Zeynep Tufekci – What’s Wrong with Twitter’s Latest Experiment with Broadcasting Favorites:
Twitter claims this change showing favorites to others generates more engagement, and people sometimes click on the “favorited” tweet they have been shown.
I believe that but who cares?
The problem with this course of action is not that it doesn’t generate engagement, but that it violates the social expectation of the favoriter, who did not intend to broadcast this act, and steps over the social signal function of favorite, which for many has come to mean: “I’ve seen this [and appreciate it] but am choosing NOT to broadcast this to everyone but only conveying it to you.” It has other uses as well, (in fact, a researcher found 25 functions) but Twitter’s favorite is widely used by many as the opposite of Twitter’s broadcast, the retweet, as an individualized and quiet signal as the “notification” tab will show it to the user whose tweet was favorited, but will not broadcast it to all followers.
On the subject of signals, what do Medium’s teeny-tiny author bylines say about their attitude to the importance of “content creators”?