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.
Some people probably do use those buttons. Maybe even a lot of people. And maybe you do and think I’m dead wrong about this. Maybe I am. And maybe someone needs to do some serious research to know for sure. I won’t deny all that. What I know for sure is that most people who know how to use social media also know how to share URLs:
“We removed FB buttons and traffic from Facebook increased. Reason: instead of ‘liking’ articles, readers share it on their timeline.” —@smashingmag
If you provide excellent content, social media users will take the time to read and talk about it in their networks. That’s what you really want. You don’t want a cheap thumbs up, you want your readers to talk about your content with their own voice.
This is too true!
In fact, although I have a Pinterest account, I do NOT use 'pin it' buttons. Ever. For some reason I am convinced that using the bookmarklet app gives me more control of exactly what goes on my Pinterest.
...now I'm wondering how that applies to other social networks, and other people.
Article also includes some disturbing info on what Those Cursed Bahtuns may be doing to your site.
More thoughts after discussion with a colleague:
Even if incoming traffic rises when buttons are removed... how do we (as webfolk) track and attribute the traffic sources?
Sure, if you've plonked banners all over the place, you recognise where *that* traffic was from. But stuff that people are sharing all by themselves over their own social networks?
When a user pokes a button on your site, you know about it.
When a user does what I've done here, which is to quote and provide a link back to the shinies... you, as site owner who wants to know, you have no clue what I've done.
And short of going through EVERY unfamiliar referring link to see where it came from... you'll never get those numbers. You'll never be able to track what people are doing / have done with your content.
The buttons are there because without things to count, beansuits get twitchy.
Well now, that's depressing. XD
All the above being said, this is incredibly funny (don't click if you have epilepsy, and yes I'm serious).
Another interesting take on it. Text and safe for epileptics.