You know those little floating sharebars that appear on sites like Medium? You know, they look like this:
Well, John Gruber is no fan:
I’m sure “engagement” does register higher with these sharing dickbars, but I suspect a big part of that is because of accidental taps. And even so, what is more important, readability or “engagement”? Medium wants to be about readability but that’s hard to square with this dickbar, and especially hard to square with the “Open in App” button floating above it.
Same here. For me it’s like having someone wave their hand in front of my face while I’m trying to read.
— John Gruber (@gruber) June 12, 2017
He’s been scathing about on-site sharing buttons in the past, too.
I have some — no, a huge amount of sympathy for his position. I don’t particularly enjoy having sharing buttons on this site. They do generate traffic for me, though, and though I battle with my decision over it, they’re staying for now. Gruber is in a privildged position — one he worked hard to earn — in that he has a large, tech-savvy audience. His readers certainly don’t need dickbars to share things.
But others don’t have such sophisticated audiences — I’d I’m often surprised by how many people are unfamiliar with iOS’s in-built sharing mechanism when I’m running training courses. Until that changes, we’ll be stuck with sharing buttons and dickbars, because while it may be valuing engagement (bleeurgh) over readability, it’s also valuing being read. And if you don’t get found, you ain’t getting read.