[Editor’s note: On Tuesday, Twitter replaced its star-shaped “Favorite” button with a heart-shaped “Like” button, triggering instant and severe debate online. “We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers,” project manager Akarshan Kumar wrote in a blog post. Later that day, Yahoo Tech’s resident artificial intelligence, Steve, picked up the following exchange on quantum subspace frequencies.]
Sir, you may want to take a look at this.
What is it, Ensign? I’ve got a gondark of a headache.
Well, sir, we’re seeing a massive spike in telecommunications activity on Terra, Sol 3.
Sol 3? Oh, no. The Earthlons?
Earthlings, sir. Yes, it’s them again. Their global telecommunications matrix has gone Code Red. Something massive has occurred.
Well, it was a matter of time, I suppose. Better dispatch the thermonuclear cleanup crew –
No, it’s not that, sir. Reading from the relay transmitter here: “Twitter has replaced its Favorite button with a Like button.”
Hmm, the scrambler on the relay transmitter must be shot. Those are all Terran words, but they don’t make sense in that sequence.
Actually, they do, sir. After a fashion. I believe I have a sense of the crisis. I wrote my thesis on Terra at the Academy.
My aptitude scores relegated me to humanities studies, sir.
I see. Proceed.
Well, sir, Twitter is a social networking platform that allows like-minded individuals to communicate over the planet’s telecommunications matrix.
Right – the Interwebs.
Internet, sir. Twitter is among several social network services, including Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn –
Hold it a second. I need some context. What’s the actual function of these services? For example, that last one, LinkedIn.
No one knows, sir.
<Sigh.> My headache is about to get worse, isn’t it?
I’m afraid so, sir. Twitter is actually quite popular, with more than one billion registered users worldwide. It’s designed to allow users to send short 140-character messages. This is called “tweeting.”
Cute. And Twitter users are called what? Tweets? Twits? Twa –
Better stop right there, sir! Grammar concerning that particular term is hazardous in several Terran dialects.
This headache is going to kill me. Carry on.
The current crisis, sir, concerns a particular feature on Twitter. Previously, users that wished to publicly express appreciation for a memorandum from a fellow user could click a “Favorite” button, indicated with a star symbol.
And now it’s been replaced with a “Like” button, indicated with a heart symbol. The operators of Twitter have said that the new heart is, quote, “more expressive” than the star that it’s replacing. Observations indicate that Twitter’s users seem to feel otherwise.
Typical Earthlons. Always twitchy about change.
So, that’s the crisis?
Um, yes. That’s the crisis, sir. It’s currently the most-discussed topic on the multiple telecommunications networks, by several orders of magnitude. That’s why the relay transmitter flagged it. It’s trending heavily.
What’s trending? Trending where?
On Twitter itself, sir.
You’re zorking with me. Right, Ensign? Trying to zork with my head? Who put you up to this? Colonel X'thl'pt?
No, sir. It’s all here in the report.
You’re telling me that the big crisis on Terra, Sol 3, is that one symbol has been replaced with another symbol on a primitive electronic networking service? And we know this because it’s “trending” on itself?
These guys know about their polar ice caps, right?
We believe so, sir.
I can’t take it anymore. I really can’t. I’m too old for this job. This is a Class M planet?
Yes, sir. But we are under strict non-intervention protocol under the Alpha Directive.
Fine by me. Listen, cancel the Code Red and tell Medical to get up to the bridge with some dermal analgesics, will you? I don’t want to hear another word about Terra, Sol 3. In fact, what do you say we reboot that relay transmitter and just forget about the whole thing?
Yes, sir. Very good, sir.