More than Liking and Bookmarking? Towards Understanding Twitter Favouriting Behaviour
Keywords:Social-media, Twitter, Favouriting, Bookmarking
Microblogging services, such as Twitter, offer a variety of interactive features that allow users to engage with contacts in their social network and the content they produce. One such feature is the favourite button on Twitter, an icon in the form of a star that users can click on to assign a special status to a particular tweet. Despite evidence suggesting that users increasingly make use of favouriting, little is known about the reasons people have for favouriting or the utility the feature offers. This contrasts with other core features, such as “following” and “retweeting”, which have been studied extensively. In this paper we argue that by investigating the motivations for favouriting tweets we can enhance our understanding of what people want to achieve with Twitter and the types of content users find interesting or useful. With these goals in mind we conducted a large-scale survey (n=606), questioning Twitter users on various aspects of their favouriting behaviour. Of these users only 395 were aware of the function and 290 make use of the functionality. The survey responses from these users demonstrate that motives for favouriting tweets are extremely heterogeneous and not always consistent within and between users. Moreover, our findings reveal that user needs when favouriting such as the need for re-finding a tweet or the wish for a more private conversation are often poorly supported and sometimes even go unmet by the Twitter user interface.