NEWS FLASH: there’s a lot of mean spirited activity on the internet. People and brands – especially popular ones – are easy targets for “haters” and “trolls” who enjoy nothing more than being part of destructive mockery. If social media is truly about social interaction, you’d think I’d be in favor of any effort to exhibit good manners during online interactions. And that’s true…with one exception.
For the love of all that’s holy, don’t thank me for “favoriting” your Tweets.
Like many social media addicts, I check Twitter dozens of times throughout each day. It’s not uncommon for hundreds of Tweets to have filled in my timeline between visits and there’s no way for me to click on every link and read every story without being completely unproductive in my offline life. My solution: click “favorite” on those tweets that seem especially interesting, then read the links when I have time to digest them. Pretty logical, right?
Yet recently, perhaps in response to the growing anti-social masses, I’ve received more and more “Thank you for favoriting my Tweet” mentions. Besides the superfluous verbiage on my timeline, these people are missing the point – I favorited your Tweet because you shared solid content…don’t go wasting my time now!
There is obvious value in thanking someone for a ReTweet or mention, because that’s an intentional interaction. When someone RTs you, they promote you and your brand across their network…it is validation, acceptance and applause. When someone favorites your Tweet, however, you can’t know their motives.
Like most things social media, a little help from Inspector Google revealed I’m not the first to think about what a favorited Tweet really means. Mark Suster polled his followers and found that 90%+ use “favorite” like I do – as a way to save something to read later. 5% said to really “like” something (the way folks commonly use Facebook’s “like” feature) and 5% said “a bit of both.”
My own informal Twitter research yielded similar results. Tweeps Jennifer Price and Nick Savarese both said they use the favorite button as a bookmarking tool so they can read links later. Jen, a really smart philanthropy consultant and blogger, said she stopped using the favorite button because “I was getting so many ‘thanks for liking/supporting’ type of tweets” that were “creeping me out.”
Yes, my sample size was hardly reflective of the vast Twitterverse, and Suster admits that his was far from a comprehensive study. Yet I think the answers we both found are a fair representation of how people use the Twitter favorite button.
If we’re all simply favoriting Tweets as a way of adding something to our to-do list, is that really worthy of a thank you? Are the thankers simply overcompensating for widespread anti-social behavior? Are they desperately seeking validation? Or perhaps I’m being too harsh on them? Should good manners always be welcomed, no matter what?
What do you think?