Quick Thoughts on Sharing Buttons

Published by Chris Coyier

Randomly this week, I've had more-than-normal number of comments from folks who ask me something like:

Went to go tweet/share a blog post of yours, and noticed you don't have any of those on your site. Interesting, any reason why?

I do have some thoughts on that...

When I'm on a site with something awesome that I want to share, I open up a new tweet window, type in what I want to say, copy and paste the URL, and tweet it1. I think that's the most powerful way to share things. It's human. It's also not very difficult. Leaving fancy tweeting buttons off the page I feel encourages those human style tweets over those where tweets with just the title of the post and a link.

I wouldn't be caught dead trying to pass myself off as a "social media expert," but if I have one bit of advice in that arena: craft all your tweets like a human being with language skills and <gasp> emotion.

"It makes it easier and reminds people..."

I can understand how the visual presence of sharing links can both 1) remind someone to share the page if they liked the content on it and 2) make it easier for them to do so.

I've caved in before on the tweet button thing. I watched for weeks and saw only a very slight increase in number of tweets and nearly no additional traffic. So the "reminder" argument doesn't do it for me. For the "make it easier" argument, again, forcing people to manually do it improves the genuine feel of the tweet. I'd be surprised if someone read an article on this site and though to themselves "boy I sure liked this article, I'd like to tweet it, but dang, no tweet button." I hate to say it, but that's so insane to me I'm not sure I want that person tweeting about me anyway.

What's this thing actually going to do?

Personal experience plays into my decision not to include sharing buttons as well: I don't use them. I'm often afraid to click them because who knows what kind of fancy JavaScript is cooking behind them that could potentially auto-tweet something. I get stabby when things auto-tweet. It's like if a ventriloquist snuck up behind me and made me insult my friends.

Not to mention...

  • It's another thing to maintain (gotta keep up with the hippest sharing sites lest look lame).
  • The buttons take up valuable screen real estate.
  • I find them generally rather ugly.
  • It adds additional weight / load time to the page.

Hearts

My thoughts here are about me and this site. No judgements on you or your site. If you have them and they kick ass for your site, that's fabulous. I'd like to hear about it, especially if you have stats to share pre/post sharing buttons.


1 I realize there are more social media sites than Twitter, it was just easier to focus and use the verbiage for one of them for the sake of sharing these thoughts.