What Are Twitter Hearts, Anyway?

You may have heard by now that Twitter changed favorites to likes today. The Internet has had quite a bit to say about the switch from stars to hearts, of course — but you may still be wondering, what are Twitter hearts, anyway? What makes them different from the stars? How can we best utilize this rebranded feature? Good news: Answers abound. The obvious one, of course, is that you can use Twitter hearts however you like — but if you want a few pointers, read on.

The change is mostly semantics: Twitter has changed their favoriting feature to a like button, which now looks like a heart instead of a star. It also gives you the option to "like" something rather than "favorite" it, working in pretty much the same way that hearts on Instagram or Tumblr do.

So why the change in heart (get it?) on Twitter's end? The idea was mostly about simplification and universality. "We know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers,” Twitter Project Manager Akarshan Kumar wrote in a blog post. Kumar then went on to note, "You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite. The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones. The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people."

So now that we've got down what a Twitter heart is and why it's useful, let's get into how it works. Since liking something is a tonaly different than favoriting it, how you'll use the feature from here on out might change. If you need some inspiration or want some ideas, here are seven ways you might use the like feature different than favoriting.

1. To Express Solidarity

When you "like" a post on other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, you might be expressing your agreement with what that person has to say. Favoriting, on the other hand, implies exclusivity. I find that most people used to retweet over favoriting in most cases, so perhaps now we'll all be inspired to use the feature more liberally.

2. To Show That You Like Something

Very simple and straightforward, but when you like something, you like it — and now you don't have to play favorites, either!

3. To Show Support

"Favoriting" something doesn't really indicate support. "Hearting" something, though? That gets the job nicely.

4. To Give Someone A Virtual Hug

There's something about the symbol of a heart that makes me feel lovey dovey inside — something which stars definitely don't inspire. The next time you want to show someone you care, why not give them a heart on Twitter?

5. To Express Affection

There are so many people I've met or interacted with on Twitter that I've crushed on. Use the heart like a virtual wink and flirtation to show someone that you're in like with them. It's worth a shot!

6. To Make Someone Smile

If someone is having a bad day or dealing with a tough situation, you might be more inclined to give them a like versus to show that you're thinking about them.

7. To Spread Virtual Love

I'm all about spreading positivity! Let's start sharing positive vibes and good feels with our online friends by giving them hearts. Spread the love!

Images: Giphy (7)