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On Favorited Tweets and My Internet Limbo

I think about my favorited tweets, those fragments from the minds of random people, strangers, and personas that I like and star and compile. And then I wonder about this strange, personal space I’ve created in my own little Internet world—a limbo of floating mental and creative bits. I am reminded of Teju Cole’s tweet about Twitter . . .

https://twitter.com/#!/tejucole/status/185441084355264512

. . . and think that, maybe, my collection of favorited tweets is an online vault of swirling inspirations, of 140-character crystallizations of half-formed ideas in my head, of shared sentiments at specific moments, often with people far away (and I’ll likely never meet).

It’s not quite a stagnant archive: I don’t file these tweets away and forget about them. Yet for some reason, they were not fit to retweet, or I didn’t want to retweet them. Instead, they were—and are—bits and pieces solely for me: An accumulation of tiny but agreeable and intriguing things, all of which influence or reflect me.

Favorited Tweets on Twitter

I “favorite” tweets, I “like” Facebook status updates, I “favorite” YouTube videos, I “heart” Tumblr posts. On Facebook, my likes are generally actions for someone else: to encourage, to share and roll around in a friend’s happiness, to acknowledge another’s struggle. On YouTube, favoriting is functional: I favorite music tracks and add them to playlists I play regularly. And on Tumblr, on which I “like” posts less frequently, I suppose it’s just another action of acknowledgement—a thumbs-up in the shape of a heart.

But on Twitter, it’s different: favoriting is less about someone else and more about me. The process is about plucking the juicy bits from others’ minds and imaginations and tossing them into a cauldron—a volatile place that mirrors my headspace at any given moment.

And although I don’t retweet or share them, they weigh more to me—and are timeless rather than timely. So I decided to sift through and share some of my favorites, and in the process I realized how I don’t rely on Twitter simply for news and information, but also for those fleeting, random moments of clarity and satisfaction and empathy.

https://twitter.com/#!/dreamersawake/status/185529936428281856

https://twitter.com/#!/thefoxisblack/status/193055966512693248

https://twitter.com/#!/rolldiggity/status/170219842568331264

https://twitter.com/#!/georgelazenby/status/175669176055238656

https://twitter.com/#!/umairh/status/177958569587650560

https://twitter.com/#!/EpicureanDeal/status/140079657621012480

https://twitter.com/#!/AmericanRoulete/status/146606118637027328

https://twitter.com/#!/mrdavidwhitley/status/195314416789622784

https://twitter.com/#!/marginalutility/status/195908259067076609

https://twitter.com/#!/anildash/status/158952021905518593

https://twitter.com/#!/djspooky/status/152903342320918528

https://twitter.com/#!/chrisclark1729/status/125619374773112832

https://twitter.com/#!/evgenymorozov/status/174333031677558785

https://twitter.com/#!/tejucole/status/171669521575317504

https://twitter.com/#!/jaredbkeller/status/195606513962860544

https://twitter.com/#!/TheBosha/status/47087472974368768

https://twitter.com/#!/LettersOfNote/status/193360405488349184

https://twitter.com/#!/LondonElek/status/157075214398783490

https://twitter.com/#!/mattdpearce/status/174967301924335616

https://twitter.com/#!/pasternack/status/172751204059848704

https://twitter.com/#!/linkcontrast/status/145512985006325762

https://twitter.com/#!/Mike_FTW/status/117000655033483264

https://twitter.com/#!/neiltyson/status/193400138188857344

https://twitter.com/#!/rkrystalli/status/177424285885935616

I wrote a bit more on favoriting tweets as curating my own universe — and on “molding a single being” and “shaping an übermind” — on The Equals Project.

10 Comments on “On Favorited Tweets and My Internet Limbo

  1. Thanks for posting this. And my I know how you can make a templete of twitter inside your post. I wish that i could learn about it, and make my page better. Anyway, i love your writing. Thanks for share.

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  2. These are lovely, and I like your take on interacting with favorite tweets. First time around here–great blog!

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    • Hey Maddie! Welcome. Glad you liked this. I may have more to say on my whole favoriting process across websites, so please visit again.

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  3. This is really interesting (and has made me think about the way I use – or, rather, don’t really use – the ‘favorite’ function). I like this: “favoriting is less about someone else and more about me. The process is about plucking the juicy bits from others’ minds and imaginations and tossing them into a cauldron—a volatile place that mirrors my headspace at any given moment.” I wonder what it says that although favoriting is ostensibly a private act – “An accumulation of tiny but agreeable and intriguing things, all of which influence or reflect me” – it’s done in public, in broad daylight. The person whose tweet you’ve favorited receives a notification. Anyone can view your list of favorite tweets. Perhaps it’s one of the last bastions of mystery online – anyone is free to interpret the list, but there’s no real context for doing so, and ultimately only you know how you’re using the function and what each of those agreeable and intriguing things means to you.

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    • “Perhaps it’s one of the last bastions of mystery online – anyone is free to interpret the list, but there’s no real context for doing so, and ultimately only you know how you’re using the function…”

      Yes! I love this. After writing this post, I concluded that I was essentially curating my own universe — or perhaps creating my most perfect being, enmeshing all the best ideas and traits of others, yet also their most favorable flaws (much of what I favorite is pessimistic and rather dark, so I wonder what that says about me).

      I sense another post coming on this! Thoughtful comment, Miranda. Thanks.

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    • Yep, there are some intriguing accounts and personas on Twitter — their individual tweets and entire Twitter feeds both interesting forms of expression.

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  4. I love the idea behind this… Also, we use “favorited” tweets in a similar way: I collect them as little snippets of beauty to look back on. I favorite funny, insightful or beautifully written tweets. I also use “favorites” as bookmarks — when I’m going through my timeline and I do not have time to read something I’d find interesting, I favorite it to come back later.

    It makes me happy that my mushy, lovey tweet made it onto this list…. Thank you!

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    • Roxanne, I want Twitter to create a “bookmarked” feature because I don’t like favoriting a tweet as a reminder to return to it later. (Instead, I open the link and save the post to Instapaper.) It’s rather silly, but that’s how anal-retentive I can be when it comes to online organizing.

      I loved your mushy-lovey tweet! Your tweets in general are calming and grounded, if that makes any sense.

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