"Those magical social buttons aren't worth a damn anymore, and they won't bring you traffic."


Sat, Feb 15th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

You may have noticed that all of the social media buttons that normally appear under each article and news have been completely removed. As far as I can tell, they are never ever being touched, and all they do (beside tracking users) is slow down the load of the page (each one of those buttons involves its own bit of script). Turns out that I'm not alone: according to Sam Solomon, TV host of Signal Tower, these "unsightly relics of the web 2.0 era [...] aren’t worth a damn anymore, and they won’t bring you traffic." This part pretty much explains the reasoning:

I never paid much attention to sharing buttons. I always thought they were a poor user experience.

I’m a minimalist. When it comes to web design, I value white space, typography and function. People come to your site for the writing, which is why a focus on these elements will almost always result in a good user experience. Adding non-essential elements to a page reduces signal and creates noise.

If you are on the internet for the cat pictures, this does not apply.

Beyond the added noise there are other odd experiences using social buttons. Clicking on a button opens a popup window filled with oddly formatted text, marketing speak, and a ton of other stuff I don’t want to send out to friends and followers. All of the above degrades credibility.

Popups are awkward. Even moreso on phones and tablets, which brings up another point. Every phone and tablet has a browser with built-in sharing, and mobile devices are gaining marketshare.

Also, this titbit from Oliver Reichenstein's article Sweep the Sleaze says it best:

The user doesn’t come out of nowhere. We don’t land on your page and then head happily to those social networks to promote you, just because you have a button on your site. We find content through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc., not the other way around.

  • Whoever uses social networks to find content, usually begins the web journey there and goes back naturally. We don’t need to be reminded of what network we use on the way. We know. We came from there.
  • For those who don’t use social networks the social media buttons are completely useless.
  • If readers are too lazy to copy and paste the URL, and write a few words about your content, then it is not because you lack these magical buttons.



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