Likes vs. Favorites

It seems like everything is social today, and everyone has their own way of marking highlights. Facebook has the Like button, Twitter lets you Favorite tweets, Google has +1, etc. While all these are basically the same idea, I find that naming plays a big part in how I use them

On Twitter and Flickr, where the term is Favorite, I use them to make a curated list of things I might want to find later. My true favorites.

Contrast that to Facebook and Instagram, where the term is Like. Because it feels less committal, I find myself liking all sorts of things. Funny post? Cute picture of your kids? I’ll Like that. It is more like a pat on the back instead of giving them an award, quicker and less permanent.

When developing an app, for you or a client, think about the terms you use and how you want people to use the feature. I’m sure other people don’t over-think the Favorite button like I do, but some will. Use language to lead people where you want them to go.

Photo of Daniel Morrison

Daniel founded Collective Idea in 2005 to put a name to his growing and already full-time freelance work. He works hard writing code, teaching, and mentoring.


  1. December 07, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    I “like” this post, could be a “favorite!”

    I have been much more aware of my word usage lately. I’m trying to be very careful not to use words with multiple meanings. Wordnik has been a great resource in this.

    One example is a clothing site where previously we were using the word “style” to describe the different types of clothing available. The word choice always bothered me and now I know it was because “style” in the context of a clothing store didn’t represent we what we were presenting. After some research on Wordnik we now are using the term garments, which seems to best communicate the concept.

    I read somewhere that some of the guys at 37siganls consider themselves copywriters first, giving weight to the importance of their word choice.