The Price Of A Share

Sharing buttons (such as the “Like” button, “Tweet” button and “+1” button to name a few) are almost everywhere on the web these days. Perhaps something many of us take for granted too! Sometimes I find myself searching for a share button, before giving up and doing it manually if I can’t find one. Other times, just seeing a share button provokes me to share that little bit more, perhaps something I wouldn’t have done had I not seen it.

So it seems they certainly have their use on some sites… But what about those sites which, perhaps, might not make use of them. How much of a hindrance are they causing to that site? The chances are, not much. But there was something about them that I found very interesting!

The other day, whilst using Firefox, somebody showed me the “3D” feature, in the “Inspect Element” part. Now whilst this is not my main browser, I haven’t noticed if before – so it probably isn’t a new feature! But to the point, I decided to inspect my blog in 3D mode, to see how it looked (after somebody else doing the same and being somewhat surprised by the results!). Myself, I must say was also surprised by the results of what I saw!

Now, before I attempt to explain, for this purpose it’s probably best to imagine a website as a series of layers. You have the bottom layer, then a layer on top where content lays, perhaps another on that for the title, navigation. You slowly see how layers build up.

Now let me show you the following image;

3D Screenshot

As you can no doubt instantly see, that’s a lot of layers!

The main content itself has about four or five layers (maybe less, maybe more) but it instantly sounds out there’s the buttons which have many, many layers more than that. To my surprise, these layers were the sharing buttons! (At the time of this screenshot the Facebook “Like” Box was in the sidebar).

Whilst in some cases, these may not be a problem, but seeing as they’re not often used and they add to loading time (especially on mobile devices) to me, it seems they are a waste of time!

So my question to you is, are the sharing buttons worth it, or could you do without?

You can participate in the poll here

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