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Sick of Sharing

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More precisely, I’m sick of being told to “share” every damned piece of “content” I run across on the Web.

It seems to me that “share” has been abused into such a generic term, that I have no idea what’s going to happen when I click on of those “share” links. The things I’ve seen to date are:

  • pop-up that pisses me off
  • a login page appears (WTF?!)
  • new page loads (in a tab), resizes firefox, and pisses me off (*cough* YouTube *cough*)
  • an in-line form appears
  • my email client pops up
  • I’m taken to a page that with a To:, Subject:, and Body fields along with instructions for posting on my blog
  • I’m taken to a page that explains how to embed a Flash widget on MySpace

I’m sure there are other “sharing” behaviors I’ve yet to encounter. Some probably involve various IM clients. And SMS. And carrier pigeons.

Why is it that almost nobody can think of a way to represent “email this to a friend” without using the word “share”? I seem to run into “share” links all over the freaking place. Sometimes the single word “share” is the link. That’s’ really descriptive, guys. Good design.

And they seem to be placed on the sites under the assumption that I’m too stupid to send email (to the people I presumably email frequently already) with a URL in it (see above list). Thanks for the confidence boost.

WTF?

I guess an honest link title would be too verbose, huh?

    If you’re like most of our users and can’t figure out how to email the URL of this page to your similarly clueless friends, fear not! Click here. We really want to make it easy for your friends to come to our site and click on ads.

Can we please come up with a better euphemism? All this spamming (err, I mean “sharing”) is getting on my nerves. Thankfully, few of my friends have taken to this “sharing” craze with any real fervor. I guess that’s one way to tell your real friends from those who just want to be friends in a “Web 2.0 social networking” sort of way, huh? :-)

For my taste, I prefer the far more direct “Email Story” link that’s on the bottom of most Yahoo! News story pages. At least the intent is clear before I click.

Email isn’t exactly new technology. So part of me wonders why nobody’s trying to teach people to fish rather than giving them fish. Is the whole “copy URL, paste URL, send message” exercise really that hard?

Oh, right. There’s no profit in that!

By having a separate page that I can use to spam my friends, sites get to increase their available advertising “inventory” by a small but maybe measurable percentage.

Yay!

[Before you accuse me of over-estimating how "easy" it is to copy and paste, consider this: None of those email forms have any knowledge of my address book anyway. So I've gotta either remember and correctly type a bunch of my friends' email addresses in order to use them--or I have to, you guessed it, copy and paste them from my address book. Back to square one, huh?]

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Jeremy Zawodny’s blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

Visit Jeremy’s blog: Jeremy Zawodny’s blog.

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