Twitter controversy strikes yet again with the rumoured removal of the like button. So what’s the reasoning behind Jack Dorsey and the team’s latest change, and more importantly why is it rattling the masses so much more than past ‘fixes’?
The reason Twitter’s said is behind this drastic action is an effort to create a healthier climate of debate on the platform. This has of course triggered a massive Twitter storm with the majority of users strongly against the idea. The rumour arrives amid criticism of Twitter’s failure to stop harassment and violent content being available on its platform, a debate reignited by an incident that took place last week where a man suspected of mailing pipe bombs to Democratic politicians and news outlets had an active and hostile Twitter account that he was using to threaten people. Although this wasn’t directly involving the like button, it has encouraged Twitter to rethink the overall health and safety of the platform. But is this a case of a sticking plaster for a bullethole? And what does it mean for the average users and businesses, not just those on the fringe?
With seventy7 working in the digital area, Twitter is one of the big platforms that we use to promote and connect with clients. So how will this affect us? Here’s some of the mixed opinions from our staff members:
Less visibility of content
“The whole concept of following people on Twitter is so you are able to view their ‘liked’ or ‘retweeted’ content on your feed. With out this button there will be a lot more privacy and unfortunately no more memes or relatable tweets. Instead you will somehow have to find them yourself which isn’t as easy or as fun. More pertinently, when working for our clients it’s important that we interact with their customers which may be something as simple as a like to show we have seen their comment/message.”
Re- engaging users to Retweet
“Perhaps by removing the like button, users will be more encouraged to use the retweet feature instead of like, which may seem useful on its surface in terms of diversifying newsfeeds. However, this could make it more likely that RT’s are seen as endorsements, which isn’t always the case. We think for brands it’s a challenge we as agencies will have to help them face in terms of measurable engagement. This is due to them having to readjust to RT being the only engagement offered to them.”
Retweeting is more powerful
“I think the main networking function of twitter is the ‘retweet’ and more recently the ‘quote tweet’ functions. For better or worse twitter promotes opinion and soundbite so the retweet is a much more powerful statement to make rather than just ‘like’. For example: ‘I agree with this, so I’ll publish it to my network’.”
Losing the originality of the platform
“Twitter removing the like button takes it even further away from the original platform it was before. Previously Twitter had the “favourite button” but then they changed it to a heart and increased the character limit. These changes brought it closer to how Facebook operates but now it seems like Twitter is trying to differentiate itself from Facebook by taking away the favourite feature. This could be due to the controversies Facebook has encountered recently. Either way, by Twitter removing the like button they are changing an integral part of the platform that it has always had. It’s losing a big feature and I’m not sure how feeds will look now as I expect activity to change quite a bit.”
Retweeting can get repetitive
“I think that removing the like button isn’t the best idea mainly because I enjoy going through my likes when I’m bored or have spare time. It allows you to be able to agree with people without having to announce your bold opinions to the world. Sometimes liking something funny is better than seeing it retweeted onto your timeline a million times.”
Now Let’s take a look at some reactions from people on Twitter:
What are your thoughts on Twitter’s latest controversy? Do you think removing the like button is a bad idea? And importantly for us, what does it mean for the face of Twitter for brands? How are you broaching changing platforms in your reporting and feedback to clients?
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Image Credits: Twitter