Tuesday 19 March 2013

When Your Tweets are favourited.

Have you ever looked at your Twitter interactions, seen that a tweet you sent has been favourited and wondered WHY????

If you are a  comper, the answer's often easy. The person who favourited your competition entry may be the promoter, using favourites as an easy way to collect entries, or they may be another comper. Perhaps they are busy at the moment and are using it as a handy way to mark things to look at when they have more time, or they may be on their phone and saving it so they can enter from a computer.

People often use favouriting in a similar way to Facebook liking, too, just a way of letting you know that they have read your tweet. Or if you've said something important, witty or topical, maybe they feel they will want to refer back to it.

All these are uses of the favouriting mechanism that have been around for a long time. But recently a new phenomenon has spring up - random tweets being favourited  by complete strangers. Sometimes you may be mid way through a conversation with a friend when one of the tweets is favourited; there seems to be no pattern to it at all.  Why is this happening?

Well, the person - or more likely, bot - that has favourited your tweet simply wants to draw your attention to themselves. If you get favourited by a stranger, it's only natural to go and look at their profile. And what you'll usually find if you do is a user with few or no followers, few or no tweets, and a profile that consists of a photo of a scantily clad woman and a link to a dodgy website.

Some of them are more creative than that though. Last week I looked  at one that had no tweets, just a profile that said "I favourited your tweet to bring you here and help you to learn about the work of Our Lord."  It isn't clear to me just HOW a page with no tweets on it was going to do that - I think that day, God was moving in a particularly mysterious way.

But now there is a new reason that your tweets may be getting favourited. A new company called Flattr is actually PAYING people whose tweets are favourited - but only when they are favourited by other Flattr users. So the random favouriters may be just testing the water, to see if you have an account and are maybe prepared to favourite them back. It looks like an odd service, and I don't really see what's in it for the people who pay to be favourited, but time will tell and maybe in a year or two we'll all be Flattring!

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