3 Ways To Consolidate Your Social Media Icons

Posted on Posted in Technology

While there doesn’t appear to be a new social media site opening at every blink of the eye like in 2007, there are still many blogs/websites which feature anywhere between 4-7 social media/bookmarking icons to entice readers to share their content on those networks. Just before 2008 came to a close, Lorelle VanFossen touched on this subject in a blog post entitled WTF Blog Clutter: Bookmarking and Site Submission Icons. Fast forward from 2007 to today and it’s pretty clear which services have become popular with a core audience and which ones are still on the slow growth curve. This means it’s time to shave back those icons you have under or above each one of your blog posts. But lets say you don’t want to get rid of them. There are a few services that exist today which consolidate all of those icons and submission sites into a neat little button or link. Here are three of them.

ShareThis – What started out as a WordPress plugin from what I can remember, ShareThis has turned into a full fledged movement. While the RSS icon has taken off to signify the visual presence of syndication, the ShareThis icon is quickly becoming the standard of letting visitors know that a particular piece of content can be shared in any number of ways such as through user chosen social media services, posting the entry to a blog right from the widget or, an email form.

Add To Any – Before I discovered ShareThis, I found this gem which provides a choice between two buttons. One for subscribing and the other for sharing. The buttons take up very little real estate and can be used without registering any type of user account. After configuring the button, Add To Any gives you a block of Javascript code which you can then embed into a WordPress Text widget or wherever you want the button to appear.

AddThis – AddThis is pretty similar to Add To Any but contains more button graphics to choose from as well as additional benefits to being a registered user such as button statistics. You don’t need a registered account though if you just want a quick and easy way for visitors to bookmark or share your content. If you end up using AddThis, be sure to check out their help section as it contains a lot of great info on how to extend the widgets functionality.

Conclusion:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, many different sites and services like the three I just described sprung up across the web during 2007 as every idea imaginable by an Internet startup was granted funding. There are many more options to choose from if you’re looking for something a little different but I’ve used each of these services and I can vouch that all of them do exactly what they’re supposed to. Currently, I’m a big fan of ShareThis since it contains the email form.

So do yourself a favor and re-evaluate how many of those social media icons you have floating around your content. Ask yourself if they are more of an annoyance, or if they are being used at all for them to still be there. If not, look into replacing those icons with one. This will at least help you clean up the look and feel of your blog.

Do you use a service like the ones I described in this post? Let me know which one you use in the comments.

Author: jeffc

13 thoughts on “3 Ways To Consolidate Your Social Media Icons

  1. There are two big reasons I prefer to use services like ShareThis.

    First, you don’t have to worry about updating your social networking groups. ShareThis pretty much handles that for you. If a great new social networking option pops up, you can be ShareThis will add it to the group.

    Second, you don’t have to worry about tracking. ShareThis handles this for you. You have one site you can go to and get a complete report on the total number of submissions your site has received. Nice.

    I haven’t tried to Add to Any or AddThis, but I’ll have to check them out.

  2. I used AddThis currently. It’s a mess. Sure, it works.. but not many people even bother with it. I’d say on all the blogs I manage, I’ve had maybe 5 clicks in the last year using it. I wish I could make blogger work with a good social networking icon set, images only, that dealt with the main 10 or so sites.

    Honestly, if I had something simply like this, I’d be beyond thrilled: http://www.blogherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/socialmediaiconsrow.png

  3. You might also consider looking at referralZen (located at http://www.smbZen.com) which, like these other great tools, enables sharing through a large variety of social media services including email. However, with referralZen you can completely customize the form (and emails) and it provides full statistics regarding your shared content. And yes, it’s free.

    http://www.smbZen.com

  4. Has anyone tried any usability tests about these widgets or social media buttons? How it will affect the website’s look, interactivity and usefulness of the widget? If someone has, please provide me a link.

  5. I use AddThis, it’s useless. In ~5 months I had something like 4-5 clicks on it.

    Bloggers like buttons, doesn’t mean readers like them.

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