Poll and Open Thread: Social Media

A while back, I put a social media widget from AddThis on the site (the “Bookmark/Share This” link at the bottom of each post). I’ve been checking its analytics and found that it hardly gets any use at all, so I think it’s about time to terminate that experiment.

However, I haven’t decided what to replace it with, and I’m wondering if you all have any opinions. What social media sites do you use? Which ones have the largest atheist communities generally? I’ve had some success with StumbleUpon, Facebook and Reddit, but there are probably others I don’t know about.

Also, if you have an opinion on this, where’s the line between making it easy for people to discover/spread a post they like, and being obnoxious with self-promotion? I’ve considered putting up one of those widgets that tracks the number of Facebook/Twitter/etc. shares a post gets, but I wonder if that would be hypocritical since I personally don’t like Facebook or Twitter. Would you make use of a widget like this? Would you find it distracting and annoying? Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

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  • Reginald Selkirk

    I am asocial.

    If a widget just sits there, I can ignore. If it pops up when I merely move my mouse over it, then it would be annoying.

  • Clytia

    I am also asocial. I detest social networking sites and yes, the popping up when I accidently hover over it is annoying. I like what I’ve seen of reddit, though I’ve hardly used it myself.

  • George Lesset

    I use a list for Addblock Plus that specifically removes all those annoying social media widgets. All they do is slow things down or distract from reading actual content.

  • Jim Baerg

    I joined Facebook because a group I’m involved with (CFI Calgary) uses it to organize activities. Otherwise I haven’t been using any of the networking sites.

  • Ax

    If I had to pick a social networking site, I’d vote for MeetUp.com

  • http://www.patmuchmore.com p4limpsest

    I’ve only commented a handful of times, but I read your blog regularly. Just thought I’d chime in as someone who DOES use social networking sites (primarily Facebook). I’ve shared posts in the past, though I usually just post them as a link. I’ve never used your widget before, because honestly I haven’t seen it. A number of blogs I follow use the small Facebook like button that keeps track of how many are sharing, and it has never bugged me in the least. It’s unobtrusive, and handy if I do choose to post something. I would probably use it every once in a while if you had it, but also don’t care if you don’t have it. Which I guess isn’t terribly helpful for you, huh?

    However, I couldn’t agree more about the widgets which pop-up with mouseovers. Those are extremely annoying.

  • http://adamrsweet.com Adam Sweet

    I use Google Buzz mostly for atheism-related posts. I find they are the most tolerant of atheism of all the social media. I have over 650 “followers” on Buzz, people who like to read what I post. I post mostly topics relating to atheism, politics, conspiracies

  • joy

    I’m also someone who reads regularly, and shares occasionally on Facebook. A “like” button would make it easier to do so, but without one, I just post the link.

  • Izkata

    If I ever feel like sharing something, I copy the URL. I find these widgets pretty useless, but not annoying (unless it’s the kind that pop up when you accidentally mouse over them)

  • Nes

    Count me as another that’s annoyed by the mouse over, though it’s not as bad now with Firefox 4; in 3 it would get stuck open the first time I rolled over it, so I had to roll over it again to get it to go away. If you’re going to keep the sharing stuff, I’d prefer a few small icons, or keep the little window that pops up now but only make it appear when you click the share this link (kind of like YouTube).

  • http://kagerato.net kagerato

    I am yet another person who only notices those networking buttons because it creates a little overlay window which sometimes fails to vanish properly.

  • AnonaMiss

    I think anybody who finds your posts or articles compelling enough to share probably finds them compelling enough to open a new window to do so.

    Social networking widgets make sense on low attention span websites, like Cracked. They don’t make much sense on more thoughtful fare.

  • Alex Weaver

    I don’t use Facebook – I’m not religious. I don’t know much about the others and find the overlay window mildly irritating.

  • Wednesday

    Facebook is the devil*. I don’t use the other services you list on the poll due to apathy; in the case of Facebook I don’t use it out of antipathy.

    *By which I mean to say it is evil, not that it is fictional.

  • Monty

    Honestly, the widget just gets in the way if I accidentally mouse over it. When I want to share one of the posts on Facebook or whatever, I just post the URL.

  • Richard P.

    I find the share things annoying as well, especially if they pop up and don’t disappear after. I admit to using the element hider here, to stop it from coming up.
    I do twitter, but I only follow a few people and don’t have much to say otherwise.

  • Dark Jaguar

    I personally don’t use or even understand what’s special about Facebook or Twitter or those other sites. What makes them any different from just hosting your own web site?

    For my part, I think you’ve already got a good “social networking” site, this log (I prefer log to blog, I’m a language nazi I guess). You post, others can comment on those posts. That’s social, right? Above all else, I think I’m advertising my complete ignorance of Facebook and the like. I don’t see how it’s any different than, say, Geocities, but would be willing to learn.

    I love your layout as well. You take up a much wider part of the layout with your text, which I far prefer to even some of my other favorite logs like Bad Astronomy or Pharyngula where the text is this narrow swath cut right down the middle of my wide screen monitor.

    I don’t get the “share” thing because personally if I want to share something I prefer to take the time to make a legitimate post on whatever forum or log I’m at. I’m simply put a link to the page in my message if I feel it’s merited. Mind you, that’s not nearly as annoying as comments on logs that merely note that you posted the thing you just posted. That is, they literally say “On Septober 52nd Ebon Posted “Social Media”, and that’s it. What’s WITH that? Is that like the new “first”?

  • Steve

    I voted “Other.” There’s a whole social networking site specifically for atheists: ATHEIST NEXUS at http://www.atheistnexus.org/

  • http://gazinglongintoanabyss.blogspot.com/ Michael
  • Wednesday

    @ Dark Jaguar,

    Facebook and similar sites allow individuals (and businesses) to establish an online presence without having to develop a full-fledged website. This is different from establishing a website on your own, since there you need some amount of technical knowledge to create and maintain the site. Sure, learning HTML is easy, and there are a lot of CSS templates out there, but it still takes time and effort to maintain. A service like Facebook (or blogspot, or LiveJournal) gives you less freedom of design in exchange for not needing to invest much time or effort into development or maintenance.

  • http://superhappyjen.blogspot.com SuperHappyJen

    I use facebook quite a bit, but I hardly ever share anything. The occasional funny video. I know most of the people on my facebook wouldn’t be interested in the material on this blog though.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Best Social Networking Site for Atheists: I voted Other, and my Other is Atheist Nexus, natch.

    I barely use Fackbook, and dislike most of the others. I find that social networking is basically a way for lazy people to get the sound-byte versions of shit I read in the news anyway. Or keep up with friends, for which I use cellular telephony, electronic mailing services, and meatspace colocation.

  • http://twitter.com/GGlick ANTLink

    Apparently I’m the only one here who not only uses Twitter but greatly prefers it over Facebook. There aren’t really any well-defined communities there, but like-minded people do tend to follow each other and break out in impromptu discussions, including religion/atheism related ones, and for what it’s worth I’ve met a few other atheists through it. It’s also much better than Facebook for sharing articles, which I do a lot; I’ve even linked to a couple from DA. Oh, and when I did that, I copied and pasted the URL manually. Personally, the presence or absence of a Share This button/widget makes no difference to me as to whether I will or not; in fact, I’ve pretty much tuned them out to the point where I don’t even notice them anymore.

  • Rejistania

    I block these widgets in adblock because they annoy me – and not just a little.

  • Dan

    I am intensely asocial when it comes to the internet, so use no social networking sites at all. The presence of a widget on my screen does not bother me unless it forces me to do something like click on an X to dismiss some giant block of screen real estate.

  • Rejistania

    The concept of screen real estate is different on a netbook. I do not mind the buttons on a larger screen, but on my netbook, they are fed to adblock!

    Actually: adblock does block more bad web “design” than actual ads on my system.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    90% for the “never-use” option on the first poll? We are an antisocial bunch, aren’t we. :)

    The popup never bothered me; I didn’t realize there was so much hate for it. But since that was the overwhelming consensus, I’ve gotten rid of it and replaced it with some static widgets for the most popular sites. Hopefully, this is an improvement. I have to admit it’s kind of neat to see the number of shares (78 retweets for this post?!).

    Facebook is the devil. I don’t use the other services you list on the poll due to apathy; in the case of Facebook I don’t use it out of antipathy.

    Hah, I know just how you feel, Wednesday. I’m not pleased by Facebook’s disdain for user privacy, and I don’t use it very often for just that reason. They can’t data-mine what I never post there in the first place. That said, Facebook has (damn it) made itself indispensable through the sheer size of its user base. I get a pretty fair amount of traffic from people reposting my articles there, so it’s a channel I feel I can’t afford to ignore (assuming I care about the amount of traffic I get – which, as an egotistical blog owner, I do).

    Or keep up with friends, for which I use cellular telephony, electronic mailing services, and meatspace colocation.

    I plan to steal that “meatspace colocation” line, D. :) Just so you know.

  • Derek

    I know at least one other person mentioned this (I only quickly browsed through the comments) but Think Atheist is pretty interesting. I stumbledupon it the other day and I have enjoyed parts of it so far. Still checking it out.

  • http://www.georgemathiaslog.com george

    I just checking different atheist forums, websites etc, to get involved. I feel more has to be done, considering the fact, that out of 100% of world population only 60% are religious and from this 60% only 20% are following and the rest are just followers. We’ve got a long way to goooooooo.