Shortly after its debut, the Twitter tweet button caused browsers to crash when a visitor went to a page sporting it. And not just the little guys were affected; it caused errors on big sites like Mashable.
The incident illustrates why it’s not necessarily a good idea to implement the Twitter button on your site. Here’s five more:
- It will affect your site’s performance. Even if it’s not a cataclysmic error like Mashable and others experienced, it will still lengthen your site’s pageload times. On a site where the button is optimized like it is on mashable.com, the tweet button adds around .88 seconds to a pageload—pretty slow considering acceptable page loads are usually less than seven seconds. It gets worse if you use a plugin on a platform like WordPress. Using a plugin or placing the code poorly could prevent some content on your page from even loading.
- The button delivers a poor tweeting experience. Having never used it, I decided to just for this post. In order to tweet, one must click the tweet portion of the button, then login to their account and wait for some default text, a link and a reference to someone’s Twitter handle. The length of all of this default information doesn’t leave much room for your own thoughts, so you end up deleting it anyway. (Plus who usually tweets just a headline with a link?) Any comfortable Twitter user already has their client like Tweetdeck open, will grab the link, have it shortened and write their own thoughts on the post. Which leads to the next point…
- Influencers don’t use the tweet button to tweet. They find posts they find interesting and valuable, and they tweet them the way they please, undoubtedly in a far more advanced way than using some clumsy button provided on a webpage.
- In fact, very few people use the button to tweet and bots up the count while providing very little traffic. The Tweetmeme blog itself describes the button as a display of how many times a page has been shared on Twitter; not an effective way to draw more retweets.
- Social media is not about the numbers, as my colleague Kelly Clay aptly argues on her tweet-button-less blog. How does knowing the number of times the post has been tweeted add value to a reader? Some publishers might say they like to see for themselves. But the button tracks your brand far less capably than other tools and doesn’t enter you in to the conversation that can be had with those tweeting your copy. Not to mention, on most blogs the count of retweeters may only be demoralizing. Why hurt performance for nothing?
This wonderful cartoon from Oatmeal further illustrates the point about halfway down the page.
Update: The Next Web explains some of the potentially big problems with the Twitter tweet button.