Chibimagic's Weblog

Sharing is caring… about yourself

Posted on: March 13, 2009


I hate these little spammy share links that show up everywhere now. Sure, the individual icons are kind of cute, but overall they’re ugly and annoying for a variety of reasons.

One, it shows you don’t know who your readers are. Are they the type of person that’s more likely to have a membership on LinkedIn or MySpace? Reddit or Twitter? If you don’t know who you’re writing for, you’re probably not doing it very well.

Two, it’s a distraction. Even if the person reading your article is active on one of these networks, they still have to scan through every icon to find the one they want. Takes effort = makes them less interested. The more icons you have, the more effort it takes. And the lower the signal-to-noise ratio becomes for your site. This is worsened by the fact that sites with a large collection of share features usually also make very short posts.

Three, why do we have a million ways of sharing things on a million different sites? These things are only useful if people are actually using them. I’m just waiting for the bubble to burst and most of these services to go away.

And finally, it shows you’re dumb, because these links don’t work anyway. Sure, that one article will get better placement on a variety of sites and more people will click on it, but these marginal people that you get are also less likely to care about what you’re saying. You’ll get bored ADD people clicking around and not really reading. These share links tell people that you care more about meaningless clicks than engagement and understanding, so the only readers these links draw in are the kind of people that spam and first post and misspell and insult. And then you start writing crappier things because you get discouraged by your crappier readership. It’s like the broken window theory, and this is your first crack.

Don’t let your neighborhood get destroyed.

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