Do we use social share buttons?
I came across a question in Basecamp today from a client saying "Should we add some social share buttons?", which more or less translates to "Lets add some share buttons". This question got asked to me as a designer, rather than my usual role as a developer, so I challenged this more than I probably normally would, replying "yeah, do we actually need to add need to add share buttons?" (in my head).
If I like a piece of content, whether it be a video, an article, an image or whatever may be, I will get a link for it and post it to wherever I see fit. I don't think I've ever used a share button.
So my question is, do we actually use these "handy" share buttons that the likes of Facebook and Twitter provide? I know from a developers point of view they add extra page weight and rely on external resources and from a design point of view they add visual clutter and can detract from the actual content.
I asked on Twitter posed the question on Twitter but would love to hear in more detail what people think.
Joel Hughes wrote on
Depending on the page, I think they can really add value. Certainly if I’m reading a blog post I want to be able to share it easily (typically Twitter) without having to find out the authors Twitter handle etc.
As you hint at above, I’d defo go for one of the less obtrusive, non-blocking methods of adding these buttons.
Andrew wrote on
I rarely use these buttons to share content. Like you, if I like something enough to want to share it I copy the link and post it to whatever networks I think are suitable.
I think their main appeal is on a page that has already been shared a number of times. Having that share count there (if it’s a high number) tells users that what their reading is in fact valuable. They remind me a bit of when ‘webmasters’ used to put visible hit counters on websites back in the day.
So from that point of view I can see why clients would ask for them.
I’d be interested to see research into whether having a ’0′ there actually has a negative affect on visitors’ sharing habits. Are people less likely to share a page if no one else has shared it yet?