If you spend a lot of time talking to real people on twitter1, you will eventually find twitter friends who fit the category of the “Compulsive Liker”. The Compulsive Liker (or CL, as laziness dictates that I refer to them) is a twitter user who seems to hit the Like Button2 after every thing you post. Don’t be fooled, interactions with a CL do not indicate that there is a constant stream of pearlish wisdom spilling from your keyboard in >= 140 characters. All it means is that your CL friends are trying to swim above the tide of the twitter info stream.
Recently, I was surprised to find that some of my CL peers were unaware of the tools available to turn their tide of liking in to actionable info-curation. This was surprising to me. I never even really thought to use the Like Button on Twitter until I discovered these tools. To me, there was no point to the button. If I agreed with someone, I would tell them as much, and who really cares what I may or may not “like”, anyway?
Bottom line: If you are a CL twitterer, and don’t use the following tools, this post is for you.
The twitter Like Button is really just a flagging system. Whatever its positive-sounding moniker, the button serves as a way to mark certain tweets. This flagging is, by itself, almost useless. But when it is combined with an aggregation tool, the use of the like button allows twitter users to pull down flagged tweets into formats that are more user-friendly, and less real-timey than the twitter-stream. This becomes particularly useful when one’s twitter network grows to the point that it is really no longer possible to take in the entirety of the conversation (which is to say, almost immediately).
There are certainly more tools than I could detail here for this purpose, but I’ll spotlight my own favorite, and the one that I use for this purpose: If This Then That. If This Then That is a site that allows users to chain together actions into “recipes” from different websites via some cross-internet API magic.
Two particular recipes are of interest for this discussion, both involving the trigger of favoriting a tweet: The first one that I use adds all favorited tweets to a note in my Evernote notebooks. The second one adds every link in a favorited tweet to my pocket collection.
Stop for a second and consider how useful these are. By implementing a tool like this, I have been able to automatically gather all of the useful information from favorited tweets into other, more useful formats than twitter, with no major effort on my part. This is indeed some powerful internet.
If you’re a CL type, and you are not using something like what I’ve outlined above, you really need to be as soon as you can. I’m sure that this specific approach is not the only one that works for the purpose of curating liked tweets. If you think you have a better solution, please don’t hesitate to let me know. But if you’re ever hoping to actually use the information in the tweets that you are compulsively liking, you’re going to need a system.
2 Or “Star Icon” if Facebook has finally patented the concept of a button to indicate liking something.
 Well, you can read every twitter user’s stream of “favorite tweets”…
 Obviously, this has many other uses than the one’s described here.