Twitter’s problem with bookmarks (and how to fix it)

Back in 2015, Twitter gave you three options when you saw a tweet that you liked. You could reply to it, retweet it or favourite it. The favourite option was a star which turned yellow when you clicked it. All your ‘favourited’ tweets could then be found in a list in your profile to return to at a later time. 

Then in November of that year, Twitter made some changes. First of all, ‘favourites’ became ‘likes’ and instead of a star you there was a heart. People never really like change on social media, and this change was no different:

Then in 2018, Twitter introduced Bookmarks. This was created for people who were clicking ‘Like’ on tweets just to return to later and read properly and didn’t actually like the tweet. The other benefit of Bookmarks was that it was private. No-one could see what you had bookmarked (Twitter’s algorithm also wouldn’t share that information with other people in their feeds like it does with likes). 

However, there’s a problem with Bookmarks. The first being that up until recently, they were only really available on the mobile/tablet version of Twitter, meaning you could save bookmarks but not access them from your desktop. Secondly, it takes more time to bookmark something as opposed to a like which just involves one click/tap. 

In a small Twitter poll I shared with my followers, nearly 75% only used Likes and just 22% used both Likes and Bookmarks. Even with a small sample size, it suggests that not enough people use Bookmarks, even after Twitter made them more prominent on the desktop version. 

So how can they fix it? 

Option 1 – Add a bookmark button alongside the like button on every tweet. Currently the option to add a tweet to bookmarks can be found through the share icon on tweets (which unhelpfully looks different on desktop and mobile) This is where you can also choose to send the tweet via Direct Message or copy the link to the tweet. If the bookmark option was pulled out of the menu and put alongside the Like button, I think it would definitely be used more. 

Option 2 – Why not get rid of bookmarks altogether and upgrade likes? I’d like to be able to categorise my likes just like you can with Twitter lists. You could choose which ‘Like’ categories are public or private (allowing Twitter to show the public likes to your friends) and have multiple categories of your choosing. You can, for example, put all the tweets you found funny in one group and all the news related ones you want to come back to in another one. 

Option 3 – Give people the ability to find both Likes and Bookmarks in one place with the option to toggle between the two. It’s slightly strange that these two related options are found in completely different parts of the site and It’s not always easy to remember whether you liked or bookmarked something. They could also make it easier to search the list of favourited and bookmarked tweets or offer easy to use filtering options (i.e Tweets you’ve liked/favourited from your followers, Tweets from certain years, Tweets with images etc)

Like my suggestions or got one of your own for fixing the bookmarking problem? Share it in the comments below. 

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