Since these actions have become a very popular way of promoting content across the Internet, a Swedish based company that has put a unique spin on social sharing hopes to become the next big sharing mechanism. The service is called Flattr and is designed to help people share not only content, but also money.
Is there room for another social sharing button? Let us know.
Flattr is the world's first micro-payment service and allows users to make monetary donations to their favorite bloggers and publishers. As Flattr's CEO and Co-founder Linus Olsson explained to WebProNews, users set an amount for how much money they want to donate, and, at the end of the month, Flattr divides it evenly between all the content they've "flattr'd."
Although it is often referred to as an "Internet tip jar," Olsson told us that users don't make any purchases. Instead, they simply make a donation if they like the content.
"We call it social donations, social micro-donations, or social micro-payments because you actually pay for content," he said. "You have got the content already, but you want to pay for it."
The content consists of anything from music to software to articles - whatever users think deserve a donation. Olsson said Flattr is "agnostic" to content as long as no laws are broken. Incidentally, Flattr was said to be used as a method of donating money to WikiLeaks after PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard cut off submissions to the site.
PayPal and other payment systems have been a standard up to this point, but Flattr believes its service is a better alternative for micro-donations. Olsson explained that, while PayPal is a great platform, its system is "too tedious" for small payments since it is based on purchases.
"A micro-payment service needs to be instantaneous and one-click and a no-brainer to use," he said. "That is not PayPal."
On the social side, Flattr is integrated into both Facebook and Twitter. Last week, the company also announced an Explore feature that allows users to follow content producers and fellow donators. Olsson told us that this feature was the first step toward a more social and personalized experience through Flattr.
"Donations and monetary payments toward content on the Web should be as social as the content itself," he pointed out.
According to Olsson, Flattr is taking social sharing to an entirely different level. As a result, he thinks that Flattr will soon be listed with all the other social sharing buttons.
Would you be willing to "flattr" your favorite content? Could this change the way businesses are funded? Please share.