Twitter Favorites were first used solely to bookmark Tweets you wanted to read later. If you saw a Tweet you liked, maybe it was a quote, or an article, or a testimonal from a customer, or even a fun Tweet from a friend, you'd save it as a Favorite. Your Favorites are public, so it was kind of like an open index of your favorite Tweets. One time I had to cover a conference but was unable to go at the last minute. Instead of completely bailing, I watched the hashtag feed for two days and favorited all the good quotes and daily wrap-ups. At the end of the conference I was loaded with more content and quotes than I could ever use.
But these days, Favorites are used similar to the "like" button on Facebook.
People Favorite Tweets for many reasons. When you Favorite a Tweet, you add a star to the Tweet and, depending on that user's notification set-up, sends a note to let them know that you absolutely love them, and, according to some researchers, stimulate a little bit of happy dopamine to release into their bloodstream.
We now star/Favorite Tweets to express, hey, I like what you're saying here, or to answer a yes/no question in the affirmative. Sometimes after a lengthy @ reply chain, i.e. two or more back-and-forths, users will Favorite the final tweet to acknowledge receipt and put an end to the prattle.
Usually when I Favorite Tweets, it's because I want to save something, still using the old bookmarking system. I don't go around using the star all that often, either. When there's an article I want to read later, I usually hit the star. If I want to "like" an article, I just go ahead and Retweet it. Heck, sometimes I Favorite my own retweets so that I can do both!
Here are some examples of Tweets I've favorited lately because hey, you might be interested in this stuff too!
Penguin 2.0: Four Facts You Should Know - Great resource for the new Google update from Jayson DeMers http://buff.ly/18bGKoL
Patria is now my favorite restaurant in Toronto: http://bit.ly/10TkBHi The best Spanish food I've had outside of Spain.
genius! #lifehack RT @realsimple: Use olive oil to buff stainless steel appliances. No streaks! See how: http://bit.ly/115SUg3 #newuse
New email template design reference with lots of downloadable templates. http://templates.mailchimp.com/
When you finally find that significant other, you realize that they are called that because they make our own life more significant.
What do you call an elephant that doesn't matter? An irrelephant.
This kind of quiet and alone is so much better than the crowded room alone.
In the future, hipsters will collect obscure RSS feeds. They will somehow still be on vinyl.
How to cite a #tweet: http://bit.ly/UayXzV
Ice Cube Tray Chocolate Strawberries pic.twitter.com/r9vQjcZ3
I think these are a pretty healthy mix of work, pleasure, jokes, DIY and food. Oh wait, those last three all count as pleasure, right?
If you want to see your Favorites, they're available on your profile, on the left-hand side. It's in the tab named "Favorites", if you can believe it. Gotta love consistent taxonomy!
If you want to see who has favorited your Tweets, you can see them under the Connect Tab.
If you want to see what other people Favorite, you can see it on their profile page. It could get a little bit awkward seeing what people "like", but like I said, this section used to be reserved for bookmarks!
So in their most basic form, Favorites on Twitter are used as a way to save a Tweet. Although people use them to pay homage to Tweets, their basic functionality is still to save and store Tweets that you like. Ehem, your favorites.