To Share (This) or Not to Share (This)

Posted 2009.08.07 14.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So I’ve been waffling on this “Share This” thing. I’m not really up on this stuff myself, I’ve never used it, but my friend Lezley told me it was good and important so I put it on my site. The thing is, it runs entirely on the Share This server, so every time someone is viewing one of my pages, they’re also partially redirected to download stuff from the Share This site. And not just two words and a little logo either – it’s a lot of stuff.  Scripts, style sheets, a bunch of logos, who knows what else. Honestly, I don’t really like it – it seems strange and mysterious and opaque to me.

Most WordPress plugins are pretty open and upfront. I mean, if you can read PHP (which isn’t that hard if you just take your time and don’t let it scare you), you can look at the plugin and get at least a bit of an idea what it does. You can do that with the Share This plugin, but what the Share This plugin does is basically just tell your guests to load a bunch of stuff from elsewhere – and you can’t change that stuff. It’s some digging just to get to see that stuff, what with all the javascript voodoo and all that.

Aside from the opacity of its function and my lack of understanding of its purpose, there is the bottom line fact that it slows things down. I’m on a fast connection – but when I can see a noticable change in speed between Share This and don’t Share This, that gives me misgivings. In fact, if there is a problem and for whatever reason the Share This stuff isn’t working, it makes it look like my site is having problems.

So I’ve turned it off, turned it back on, off and on again. I don’t know what’s best. So I’ve made a poll, and I’m asking you. And, please feel free to comment as well.

Cheers!

The poll has been closed, with the votes in at 8 votes against Share This and 1 vote for it.

4 Comments

  1. Lezley says:

    I just ‘shared this’ on Facebook with “Share this”. I use it when it’s offered and there’s something worth sharing.

    Not being on any social networks makes the use of it completely irrelevant to you… and I get that. But your site isn’t about you -it’s about your readers and they may want to share what you offer.

    P.S.
    May I also have polls please?

    1. Stephanie says:

      Most of my… discomfort with Share This isn’t because I don’t use it myself. It’s the way it is implemented, and the fact that it does slow down the process.
      When you click the sharethis link/logo, that window it pops up has all those icons pre-loaded. In other words, the script makes your browser load all those icons and things even if you never ever click the sharethis button. It’s wasting bandwidth, and I get the advantage in that when someone actually does click it, they don’t have to wait while it loads. But so far, polls indicate that 5 people are needlessly delayed, so that one person has a fast share this experience. 😉

      Speaking of which, yes I’ll put the polls plugin on your site. It takes a bit of playing to get used to it, but fortunately it comes with a built in help screen. 🙂

  2. Stephanie says:

    Just an update, I have deactivated Share This. I haven’t deleted it (yet) but just temporarily deactivated again.
    The votes were 8 against and 1 for… not many folks use it.
    And what’s the resulting difference? Well I did some measurements using some web inspection tools and the presense of Share This added almost 400kB and 400 mS of bandwidth and latency to the front page of my site. Small numbers to be sure, but – that represented 50% of the entire load. In other words, just supporting Share This doubled the bandwidth and download time of my front page.

  3. […] long ago I asked for some feedback regarding the Share This plugin. Share This adds a little icon and text to every page and every post, which allows people to […]

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