Social sharing has come a long way in so little time. Just a couple of years ago the concept of ‘viral’ or ‘widgets’ didn’t exist, and webmasters/publishers were happy just cross-linking to each other’s content, getting ‘contras’, asking to be listed in a directory, etc. But ever since the first ‘Digg’ icon showed up (or ‘tell a friend’, I forget what started it), the idea of letting people share and bookmark their favourite web destinations has grown into a separate web industry. Hundreds of widgets, thousands of chiclets (those little icons you see everywhere), and we’re all sharing, passing on, pushing the content further.
Over the last couple of years many similar services have emerged. Some still use separate chiclets, others rely on a single widget to combine and track them. Publishers have spent a lot of time analyzing and optimizing those chiclets: is Digg getting us higher numbers than Newsvine? Should we separate Friendster from FriendFind? Can we trust an external email forwarding provider? It all comes down to numbers and your goals. If you can just drop a single line of code into every web page, and see dozens, hundreds of new visitors arrive via shared articles, if you’re satisfied with a single point of reporting and tracking, for multiple sites you own, then keep using an ‘all-in-one’ solution.
There will be other services, better, faster, but for a freebie so powerful, sharethis.com is pretty good. What are your ‘all-in-one’ sharing tools? Got a recommendation?