Twitter’s API Lead Alex Payne has been speaking at the Twitter 140 Conference and I’ve already written today about his announcement that Twitter might be adding geo-referencing data to all tweets – you can vote on my poll about this here.

Alex also mentioned that Twitter will add a new feature similar to the ‘like’ option on Friendfeed and Facebook, which lets users vote up a submission. Twitter already has a ‘favourite’ feature which allows us to save any tweets we desire (I keep all my ‘links of the day’ in mine) but it’s not heavily-used by members, possibly because it isn’t heavily profiled. There’s been a lot of talk on Friendfeed about how good their ‘like’ feature is to Twitter’s ‘favourites’, and as Robert Scoble, arguably the single-greatest Friendfeed advocate on the planet, took the interview with Alex Payne, one has to wonder who did most of the pitching. ;)

(Alex also stated that Twitter might be adding comments to tweets, which is also a feature on Friendfeed and Facebook, as well as Plurk. I’m fine with this, although I’d very much prefer if it came in threaded messaging format, with a reply link on each comment, as on Friendfeed in particular long runs of responses can be a real pain to follow.)

Here’s my concern, though: the ‘like’ feature is dumb. Really dumb.

It’s dumb on Friendfeed, and it’s even dumber on Facebook, where users regularly ‘like’ things like plane crashes, bomb explosions, the death of Mike Tyson’s daughter and many other tragedies. Depeche Mode fans seem to like the cancellation of concerts, and I also regularly see people liking things that are about them, or that they have written and others have then submitted. Keep that ego in check, won’t you?

It’s not really their fault, as the ‘like’ is essentially the only option they have. But grammatically, and in any reasonable measure of decency when it concerns traumatic events, like is a major fail.

Twitter doesn’t need a like. What it needs is a share.

Read more