Twitter Users Favoriting Tweets More Than Ever Before

Twitter’s closest parallel to Facebook liking – favoriting – is becoming increasingly popular, according to research from data analytics company Topsy.

In May 2013, Twitter users favorited tweets 1.6 billion times, four times the amount of favorites from May 2012.

One reason Twitter favoriting is so popular is that it’s a way to express approval or endorsement without publicly broadcasting it. It can also be used to bookmark tweets to remember, like if a tweet links to an article you’d like to read later.

Unlike a Facebook like, which shows up on your timeline and in others’ news feeds, a Twitter favorite is between you and the user whose tweet you favorited. Of course, if you click on “Details” for any individual tweet, you can see which users favorited it (just as you can see who retweeted it).

And each user’s Favorites are visible on their individual Twitter profile page, alongside their Following, Followers, and Lists.

But a favorited tweet from a user you follow doesn’t show up in your timeline. Just as the tweets you favorite aren’t seen by your followers in their own timelines.

Favoriting took off after Twitter underwent a redesign in December 2011 to create Home, Connect, Discover and Me tabs. Connect added “Interactions,” which shows you clearly who’s favorited your tweets. And the Discover tab shows you your friends’ favorites. Before then, favoriting was almost completely private.

Now, favorites are technically public but really intended for the user favoriting, and the user whose tweet is being favorited.

There’s also a darker side to Twitter favoriting, as we reported on in May. Some think Twitter favoriting is becoming a spam practice to gain followers. The flip side is that more legitimate tools like Followgen offer a similar practice, programatically favoriting the tweets of people in a designated target audience in the hopes they’ll see the notification and then decide to follow the person favoriting their tweet.

How do you use Twitter favoriting? Do you think it’s become more popular?

(Stars image via Shutterstock.)