Social Media Buttons

(aka sweep the sleaze)

The folks at Information Architecture take on social media buttons on sites. A slightly flame bait-y title for sure, but some nuggets to think about here. Hopefully, this can be a starter for a larger discussion about how we encourage people to engage with sites and organization.

My take aways are:

  • We need more research into if these buttons actually work to further the conversation we’re trying to have.
  • These buttons are not your social media strategy.
  • Are social media buttons beginning to suffer user blindness like ads do?
  • If you don’t have an account on these networks, do you even know what it is?
  • Is “Like” really want you want people to do? Or do you want people to share and comment on it?
  • What about the cookies that these buttons use that enable FB/Twitter/etc to track users? If you work for clients, do they want to endorse and subject their customers to that tracking?
  • These buttons will vanish like other buttons of days past (delicious, digg, etc).
  • Is the degradation to the site (slow loading, stuttering scrolling) worth it to include these buttons? Could you instead include standard links that allow the same interaction?

Here is a more in-depth look at the amount of resources and download time needed to load the three most popular buttons. The article applies to mobile but could equally be applied to the web generally.