Disagree with almost everything in this article.
If you don't want to enable readers to easily share your post then don't have the buttons. If you want to make it easy then have buttons.
If we're talking about user experience here then you are essentially making it harder for someone to do something that's an incredible common action. I think that the 'noise' created by the tiny buttons is negligible.
Popups are awkward. Even moreso on phones and tablets, which brings up another point
I know that Twitter and Facebook don't have a popup on mobile, it takes you to a mobile optimised page, then back to the source after submitting
“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.”
I have dozens of tabs open in my browser and I'm doing about 5 things at a time. When I read something I'm quickly onto something else. Just because I didn't choose to do some long winded share method doesn't mean I didn't rate the content, it meant you made it difficult and I likely moved on.
This is just my own personal opinion but I also think the amount of shares can sometimes appear as validation that an article is worth reading. In the same way you read something that's got a ton of upvotes on DN or Digg.
You bring up some great points. However, there are other ways to show "user validation": custom like buttons. ISO50 has been doing this for a while, I believe Svbtle has something similar, &c.
I've felt that share buttons weren't that important to me for years. None of my sites have them, but my analytics show other sites linking to mine. Seems to be working for me.
Maybe I'm an old man at heart, but I prefer to copy and paste links into Tweetbot/Tweetdeck than to deal with deleting the marketing speak from share buttons before sharing my thoughts on what I'm linking to.
Hey Murat, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I do have a few points that I'd like to make.
I know that Twitter and Facebook don't have a popup on mobile, it takes you to a mobile optimized page, then back to the source after submitting
On mobile devices it does open the item in a new tab, which I find a bit annoying. In the article I put this in the same category as a popup. Technically it is not, so you are correct.
Just because I didn't choose to do some long winded share method doesn't mean I didn't rate the content, it meant you made it difficult and I likely moved on.
I follow you on Twitter and you often share great articles. Perhaps, not everyone needs commentary. This is a fair point as well.
The overall goal of the article was to get designers and developers to question if those buttons provide value. In my experience it doesn't seem to make sense on Signal Tower or my blog. It is up to you to decide what works and what doesn't.
I took a look at my personal blog referrals for the last year and took a screen grab for you. This isn't definitive by any means as I don't track clicks on the buttons so I can't tell you whether a tweet was from a tweet button or manual. But I do think the Facebook stuff is mostly manually liking posts
Pocket shares were in the double/triple digits before i introduced the button
Take a look at your In-Page Analytics in Google Analytics. This is what first tipped me off that something was amiss, and prompted me to write this article.
I wish I could upvote this more than once. Wholesale removal of buttons might work for incredibly tech savvy people who are used to coy-paste, but even then, maybe only if they really like the article a lot. Buttons are a cue to share.
Regular users, the other 99.5% of people out there probably aren't going to be bothered to share without buttons. The comment about the users being too lazy to share, so that is somehow their fault really baffled me too.
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.
Why on earth would you put the burden of knowing the preferred method of sharing on the user? Remove obstacles to the goal! I'm assuming the goal is to have more people read the article.
If you want to design a blog strictly for other designers, then no-buttons might be okay. In any other instance, I think it's way too soon to do away with them.
When you say "preferred method of sharing," are you referring to the user's preference or the site owner's?
I love this article... so much, especially the part in which you talk about the sharing experience and why "As designers, it is our job question why elements should exist".
To add to it, performance of the official share widgets are often sluggish too, sometimes frustrating (they are improving however).
I have been using bookmarklet to share and prefer it this way. I'm not sure if you feel the same way, but I have trust issues with share buttons on pages.
Copying and pasting URLs is hard on mobile devices :(