Part of that was a limitation of running the site on Tumblr. Another is that I am a curmudgeon. Since then, I’ve cautiously added share buttons to my site, starting with the Tweet button, then Facebook’s ‘like’ button. I removed the official ‘like’ button in favor of the simple share plugin I’m using now, which covers all the networks I want to hit, and is able to be styled to fit in with my site.
My caution stems from several assumptions I have about my readers:
- My readers are smarter than the rest of the internet.
- My readers know how to share an article by copying and pasting the URL.
- If my readers do share a post, it’s because the content was great.
So far, these assumptions have turned out to be true. My readers are smart and funny people. My readers are awesome about sharing articles they find useful without having 100 buttons. My readers are also really good about sharing the articles that are quality, not whatever crap appears in their feed that day.
It worries me when I read articles like 8 ways to use social share buttons on Social Media Examiner. Mari Smith suggests you have a Facebook like at the top of your post, on the bottom, and on the sidebar. You should have a Tweet button, a Facebook Share button, and a LinkedIn Share button on every post. Add to that a gutter catch all of other social networks and whatever else you can fit in the header, footer and sidebar, and your site looks like a checker board of other people’s logos and branding.
And I thought I was running my own website.
Why do we assume our readers want 100 different ways to share an article? Why do we inundate them with buttons, toolbars, and chicklets that ignore any styling you’ve made for your own site?
Stop sacrificing your site to get shared. You don’t have to be a share button whore. The path of least resistance to sharing doesn’t make your content any better. Your laziness and design incompetency don’t make me want to share your article any more when it has no content of value.
Start by creating better content that people will want to share. Then, figure out where you want people to actually share your articles, and make it easy for them to do that. You will never be popular on every network, but by choosing which networks you want to be seen on, rather than blasting every single one, you give value to those networks.
Are bad share buttons are taking over websites? Do you actually use them? What works for your blog or website? I want to know if I am the last curmudgeon left on the internet.