Have you ever watched Man Vs Wild on Discovery and noticed that every time he went to some small tropical island there are always plastic bottles washed ashore? Those plastic bottles are social buttons on the web. They litter headers, footers, everything in between! No matter what website you go to, small or large, you will find these social buttons.
The things we do for traffic.
What Harm Do They Do?
The social buttons have adverse affects:
- They slow down load times, especially if you want counts for tweets, likes, diggs, etc.
- They can cause unforeseen consequences and introduce weird bugs, such as the fb_xd_fragment Facebook bug
- You look desperate for traffic. This may be my personal opinion, but think about what adding buttons suggest. Admit it, your traffic hungry and will do anything for it.
- Your promoting their brands on your page, for FREE.
The Future of Social Buttons
My fear is that these social buttons will get worse before they get better. Just recently Google created a sort of social button called “+1” and LinkedIn just joined the party. We are beyond overkill now. At some point they will reach a critical mass. Perhaps in a few years people will grow tired of Facebook and its usefulness will decline? I can only hope.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate social buttons. [Correction. Yes I do hate them]. Social buttons are the crack of the internet. Once you are hooked you want more and more. Pretty soon you turn into a bloated social sharing monster like Huffington Post.
Ultimately they really are the plague of the internet. And the worst thing about it is that you basically have no choice but to give in. Just ask Gawker.