Tag Archives: reddit

How important are ‘tweet’ and ‘like’ buttons to news publishers?


A conversation was sparked on the effect of social media sharing buttons by the designer Oliver Reichenstein on his blog informationArchitects. In the post titled Sweep the Sleaze he writes:

But do these buttons work? It’s hard to say. What we know for sure is that these magic buttons promote their own brands — and that they tend to make you look a little desperate. Not too desperate, just a little bit.


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.

The Tweet and Like buttons, followed by their lesser rivals Google’s +1 and LinkedIn share buttons are now ubiquitous on news websites. Visitors to the Huffington Post in January 2008 would have been given the option to share an article via Digg, Reddit and Delicious. Now they are given up to 20 ways to share an article just via Facebook alone. Users are certainly being bombarded by myriad sharing options, they are not always that pretty and Reichenstein is approaching the issue as a minimalist designer.

But is Reichenstein right?

Joshua Benton at Nieman Journalism Lab did a little digging into the effectiveness of the Tweet button for a variety of news publishers. Using a Ruby script written by Luigi Montanez , Benton analysed the last 1000 tweets from 37 news sites to find the percentage of tweets emanating from the site’s Tweet button.

The analysis comes with a few caveats so it’s well worth reading the full article but the take-away is that people are using the Tweet button. Of the news sites analysed most had 15 to 30 per cent of their Twitter shares come via their Tweet buttons. Importantly, they act as a starting point to get content onto Twitter and can lead to further retweets or modified retweets.

Facebook Likes are a different story. They are far less visible on another user’s news feeds, especially after Facebook changed the amount of output its Social News feed spits out.

At least one publisher has found positives to removing the Facebook Like button from their site, claiming it increased referrals from Facebook:

Jeff Sonderman writing at Poynter hypothesises there is a strange tension created by having a sharing button on news articles:

One argument in favor of sharing buttons is the psychological phenomenon of “social proof,” where a person entering a new environment tends to conform to the behavior demonstrated by others. How does that apply? The tally of previous shares on a given article could offer social proof to the next reader that it is indeed worth reading and sharing — “just look at all these other people who already have!”

But in this case, social proof is not the only force at work. We also know that many people share content because it makes them look smart and well-informed. Part of that is being among the first to have shared it, and thus not sharing something that’s already well-circulated. In this way, a sharing button could limit the potential spread of your best content.

These buttons are being used but news publishers need to think about how they are being used and how engaged the users of them are. Sonderman thinks Reichenstein gets close to the mark when he states:

If you’re unknown, social media buttons make you look like a dog waiting for the crumbs from the table … That button that says “2 retweets” will be read as: “This is not so great, but please read it anyway? Please?”

If you’re known and your text is not that great the sleaze buttons can look greedy and unfair (yes, people are jealous). “1280 retweets and you want more?—Meh, I think you got enough attention for this piece of junk.”

‘Like Twitter on steroids’: New social network XYDO launches in beta

Digg gets drunk, has a threesome with Reddit and Newsboiler, which results in XYDO.

That’s how social news network XYDO, which launched in public beta yesterday, was described in one tweet.

XYDO on Twitter

Jeffrey Bates, co-founder of Slashdot.org, opted for:

If Reddit and Hacker News are social news 2.0, XYDO is clearly 3.0 and beyond.

And author Jesse Stay likened it to “Quora meets Digg” and “Twitter on steroids”, according to XYDO’s website.

If you’ve used Digg, Reddit, Newsboiler and Quora, that’s all you need to know. If not, read on.

XYDO takes a bit of getting used to and I’ve not come across any handy video guides, but the following should help you find your way around.

What is XYDO?

XYDO is a social news network that takes stories from your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Users then collectively prioritise and organise stories by pushing them up or down the list. The ranking is influenced by clicking the green arrow up, the red arrow down and by sharing on Twitter and Facebook.

XYDO ranking

You will automatically be following the people you follow on Twitter and you will be assigned to various communities based on your Twitter connections.

You can view either news from your ‘connections’ or from your ‘communities’ and get a story list in a form which suits you: by custom RSS, email, tweeted links or Facebook.

So what does XYDO mean for journalists and newsrooms?

It is a source of stories. It is a way of networking, discussing stories and tailor-making your own news story feed.

You can also join communities (like ‘media and journalism’, which is already set up) and even create your own community.

It is also a way of increasing site traffic. You can submit stories, which will then be ranked by others on XYDO.

XYDO screengrab

You can follow @xydoapp on Twitter. “Media experts” from XYDO also curate various communities on Twitter channels. You can follow @x_mediajourn for “the best news and blog posts on the topic of media and journalism”, for example.

Read more about XYDO on MashableReadWriteWeb and Musings from Sussex.

Malcolm Coles: Telegraph.co.uk gains 8 per cent of traffic from social sites

The Telegraph’s website gets eight per cent of its traffic from sites like Digg, delicious, Reddit and Stumbleupon, its head audience development, Julian Sambles, has said.

According to Coles’ calculations, this amounts to around 75,000 unique visitors a day gained through social sites.

Search engines are responsible for around 300,000 daily uniques, Sambles added. Earlier this year Sambles discussed the site’s search strategy at an Association of Online Publishers forum (AOP).

Full post at this link…

WindyCitizen.com: Does local news fail on social news sites?

“Local news is a lost cause on the major social news sites,” claims the Windy Citizen – a Chicago news aggregator – after one of its linked news stories failed to make waves on Digg, delicious and reddit, despite gaining votes from readers.

What news makes it onto these sites’ front pages? National stories, weird stuff and photos, concludes the Citizen.

“And that’s why the Windy Citizen exists, because there’s a need for a service that democratizes Chicago media in the same way that those sites have democratized tech and political new,” says the post.

Full post at this link…