Monday, 9 November 2015

Changing the #twitterheart to X via simple coding

When twitter first changed the star into heart, I could not be bothered. Although I must admit I did follow some of the discussions (one from Kate Bowles here).

Software is always biased and represents the cultural and philosophical background of the developer/s (nice overview paper from Friedman and Nissenbaum, 1996, but also a lot articles, latest one from Gizmodo on job application software). This is also true for the symbols socmed companies use, in this case the #twitterheart. But when tweaking of those symbols becomes really simple it becomes a pleasure to change the symbols used... oh Yes.

Vicky Curtis got me on to this nice and simple Chrome/Firefox extension tweak to change the twitter heart into something you like. (tough part: finding a symbol you want to use... I went for a mobile phone.

The idea comes from Robert McNees who shared a full code via Github here. But this is a bit of work, a simplified version was offered by Adam Clark Estes from Gizmodo in an overview article, focusing on a simple addition of coded lines to a browser extension (either chrome/firefox), which only takes 6 steps to get the twitter heart replaced by an emoji (= character or symbol) of your choice. Neat!

Now, because I combined the article of Adam Clark Estes with the updated coding from Robert McNees = @McNees , I will add the steps I used in this post. Btw, at the end I also choose the "URL's that start with' option to add behind the 'applies to' option inside of the Stylish extension. So here it goes:

Step 1: Download the Stylish extension for Chrome or Firefox. (There are a host of other extensions to restyle the web, but Stylish is super easy to use.)
Step 2: Open Stylish (= click on the 'Manage installed styles' option within the Browser icon of Stylish for a new window to open, then click on 'write new style' - button)
Step 3: paste the wonderful code from Robert McNees into that new style window, find the code here at Github
Step 4: change the standard emoji, with the emoji of your preference (you can search for images of emoji and then copy paste them into the code).
Step 5: In the “Applies to:” field below the code, choose the option 'URL's that start with' (otherwise you only get the changes for and not your own tweets).
Step 6: Click Save and your twitter should be updated with your own emoji.  
My biggest difficulty was finding the right emoji... still not sure about my simple X... and there seems to be some hearts still not adjusted, but getting there. And in the meantime, chaos in symbols is adding some diversity.