Winning The Battle Of “Iconistan”

Wired News is currently running a piece regarding the proliferation of “Submit my blog entry to…” buttons that have been cropping up hither and yon on blogs of every stripe. The number and proliferation of said buttons is indeed getting to the ridiculous point and, when bloggers actually post links to even the top few sites, the bottoms of their posts begin to look just a wee bit, well, cluttered.
Peering icons.
Into this messy scene rides Alex King to the rescue with his Share This plugin for WordPress. Share This neatly encapsulates many of the top “social” sites’ submission buttons into a single DOM element box that is hidden by default, linked to by a simple “Share This” link and icon unobtrusively tucked away at the end of each WordPress post. (See the bottom of this post, for instance). Using a little Prototype JavaScript magic, clicking on that link pops up that box, giving readers the ability to submit the story to the social networking site of their choice – Fark, digg, reddit, Netscape, Newsvine, etc. It’s a very simple idea that I think goes a long way towards benefitting both readers and blog authors: it (mostly) hides the various multicolored submission buttons from view and keeps blog footers from becoming cluttered while allowing sufficiently-motivated users to submit authors’ content to a wider audience – a real win/win situation, as far as I’m concerned.
As to my particular implementation of Share This: yes, I realize the transparency isn’t working so the ST icon looks a little funky and the default CSS for the pop-up box is fairly hard to read. I’ll work on making those issues go away, but in the meantime – Share This post, won’t you?
(Side note: the ST icon you see is also the work of Alex King, who has started the Share Icons Project, an attempt to standardize these things in the same vein as Feed (RSS/Atom) Icons and the OPML one as well. I like it – simple and effective.)

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