We have talked a lot recently about the introduction of the new Google+ social network and the Google+1 button and how these, along with Facebook and Twitter, are, now more than ever, changing the way we look at search and our activity on the web.
We are now seeing a much more socially interactive web experience, and this can most clearly be seen with the rise of social network buttons. You can now go onto a blog, news article or just any old web page and see a Like, Tweet, +1, LinkedIn Share, Tumblr, Delicious, Stumble Upon and maybe even a Digg button.
So which one do you choose? Do you +1 it, Tweet it or Like it? There are so many options and it would seem ridiculous to use all of them every time you wanted to promote a piece of content!
All of these sharing buttons have their uses and, although their designs and interactive actions are all similar, their purposes can vary greatly. Obviously, on the surface there is the basic element of user preference, with some people loving Facebook and not understanding Twitter etc, but the reasons for choosing one over the other run much deeper than this.
For example, we can predict that people interested in SEO will most likely be focused on the Google+1 and Tweet buttons. This is because we are already aware that Google works with Twitter data and uses it as part of their ranking algorithm and it would be highly unlikely for them to not use data from their own social network button as well, meaning the +1 and Tweet buttons would have the biggest impact on rankings of all the social network buttons.
However, people who have just found a piece of content they want to share with their friends might favour Facebook, whilst people who have found something relating to their job may want to use the LinkedIn button and share it with their colleagues and business connections.
Who will come out on top?
Well, as each one can be seen as holding a different purpose they may continue to all serve a function and continue to be used, although Google does have the advantage of being the only button that appears directly in search results.
However, one new element that has come into play that may affect the amount of clicks these buttons get is sites creating their own. Sites such as YouTube, Sky Sports and SEOMoz have their own online communities and their own like and dislike buttons that effect it, making them much more appropriate to the content they are on and a much more integrated element.
Buttons here to stay?
Whether you are a fan of the Facebook Like, the Google+1, the Tweet or YouTube’s own thumbs up and thumbs down, one thing is for sure, social sharing buttons are being used more and more and becoming a much more important aspect of search, social and the way we view the web.
So which is your favourite button? Why not tell us below or show us by clicking on one of the ones attached to this article.