First Instagram ditches the square and now Twitter loses its star – what is going on? Why are beloved social media sites hell bent on changing the things that make them unique?

Twitter says: “The heart is a more universal symbol that resonates across languages and cultures. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.” Quite. What Twitter is failing to see is that the star became a universal symbol because it made it one. Using a star and the expression ‘’favourite’ made Twitter, well Twitter. Yes perhaps a heart was at first the more obvious thing, but as Twitter grew in popularity, so did the star.

The expression ‘favoriting a tweet’ has become a part of everyday speech. If I said to a stranger: “I favorited that”, they would know I meant a tweet. If I said: “I liked that”, they would know I meant a Facebook post. Language created by social media sites is almost as popular as the sites themselves. Liked, double tapped, screenshotted, reblogged – ask any millennial and they’ll tell you exactly which social media site I’m talking about.

When part of a site has become so popular that its expressions are normal to say out loud, they have become part of popular culture. To change that seems madness. It’s like spending time and money defining a USP for your business only to rubbish it once it has made your business popular. Has no one learned anything from Gerald Ratner’s mistakes?

Besides, changing a star to a heart and the expression ‘favourite’ to ‘like’ is somewhat dangerous. You ‘like’ things on Facebook. You double tap a heart on Instagram. It starts to blur the lines between different sites.

So a heart may be a “universal symbol that resonates across languages and cultures” but so is the star – and Twitter was doing just fine with that.

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