Another good article from Oliver Reichenstein, this one recommending we ditch the “Tweet This” / “Like This” / “+1 This” buttons that adorn our websites like punch the monkey ads:

What does it mean that every Mashable article has thousands of retweets and likes? It’s not like the number of tweets shows how interesting an article is. It more likely shows the strength of their social media profile.

How much of web design is done because that person did it over there? We see how big sites like Mashable have hundreds or thousands of retweets and so we think that we will get that sort of traffic as well if only we had a Tweet This button of our own.

In my previous site design I had a “Share this on Twitter” link at the bottom of every article. But as I watched and measured the use of that button I found that people were organically sharing my articles on Twitter at a ratio of 5-to-1 those who were clicking the “Tweet this” link.

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.

When I redesigned this site I considered every element and asked myself why it was there and what purpose it served. Based on my own web browsing habits and how I use other people’s sites, I tried to incorporate only what I thought would the most helpful elements to the most amount of readers.

May 30, 2012