As Twitter Flirts With Hearts, Will You Miss The Stars?

Some Twitter users pulled up their feed Tuesday and saw changes involving the reply, retweet and "fav" buttons.

The main change — which many Android users got to see a few weeks ago — is the star icon that turns gold when you favorite a tweet is now a heart icon (TheNextWeb.com has screengrabs), which was confusing to at least a few tweeters. (You won't see the hearts in the tweets below unless your version of Twitter has been converted in what appears to be A/B testing.):

Tuesday's changes came a few months after Twitter finally allowed users to retweet with comments.

There were a few complaints initially and then users settled in and started commenting away. Will the new icon win the hearts and minds of tweeters in short fashion as well?

Owen Williams, a reporter for The Next Web, wrote that he's worried about "the death of the favorite button."

"Favorites mean hundreds of different emotions and responses — I'm done talking to you, I saw your message, I hate your message, etc — so simplifying it to a 'like' action dumbs it down to Facebook-level reactions. That may simply be because more people understand what the button actually means."

All these recent changes seem to signal Twitter's continued move to become more user-friendly and keep people engaged on its site and mobile apps at a time when social media companies are competing for users and chasing growth. This week Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Yelp will report second quarter results and user engagement numbers will be closely scrutinized. According to Christine Short of Yahoo! Finance:

"Twitter disappointed investors in the latest quarter, posting average MAUs (monthly active users) of 302 million, an 18 percent increase, prolonging the fear that the company is not growing fast enough. For comparisons sake, Facebook, a much larger company, recorded MAUs of 1.4 billion last quarter, up 13 percent. One issue the micro-blogging site is trying to solve is the fact that users find it too difficult to use."

Tweet us at @npralltech or tell us down in the comments what you think about Twitter's "iconic" changes. (<--see what I did there?)

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