From time to time we get requests from our users to add specific social networks to our social sharing plugin, Social Warfare. It’s rare, but on a small handful of occasions we’ve had someone ask us if we will ever add a Buffer button to the line up.
Firstly, it’s important for me to say that I’m a Buffer fanatic. I use Buffer every single day and it’s an indispensable part of my online life. Not only do I love their product, but their company has been one of inspiration from a business and customer service aspect.
But we’ll probably never be adding a Buffer button to Social Warfare.
But why Dustin? Why?!
There are a handful of reasons I feel that adding a Buffer button wouldn’t be a proper addition to our social sharing plugin.
Reason 1: Buffer Users Don’t Need It
If you are an avid Buffer user, answer me this— do you actually need a website to have a Buffer button? Or like me, do you have the browser extension installed already?
My guess is that the people who would actually click on a Buffer share button already have the browser extension installed. Or if they’re on mobile, it’s highly likely that they have the app installed.
As of now, this is more of a hypothesis and I’m currently letting users vote for themselves here:
So if people who actually use Buffer don’t need the button, why would it need to be there? Answer: it doesn’t.
Part of the psychology behind Social Warfare is limiting the options so that people are more likely to take action. If you’re familiar with the Paradox of Choice, you know that the more options you give people, the less action is actually taken.
We seek to give users only the most important options so that they will take focused action, rather than being bombarded with too many options, thereby taking no action.
Reason 2: Honest Numbers
Another one of our core values is about accurate data. No, not that lovable Star Trek character you see above– I mean the data regarding share counts.
The total share counts in our plugin are generated by going to each social network and requesting the most current and accurate share numbers. We don’t count them ourselves, we’re leaving that to the social network APIs to ensure the most accurate reading of the share numbers.
Now, we have seen this pose a problem from time to time with certain networks API (coughPinterestcough) not counting all shares accurately. But that’s at least something we know cannot be gamed.
There are plenty of social share plugins out there that will allow you to fake your social share counts (won’t name any names), but not our plugin. Not while I’m on board.
With Buffer, since it’s job is to share out to social networks the share counts it would return would in fact be duplicate numbers.
For example if I share this article through Buffer to Twitter, that would effectively count a share for Twitter and a share for Buffer adding a total share count of 2. But I’ve only shared it to one network.
So you see, adding a Buffer button would make the total share counts a little less honest. This is the most compelling reason for us to leave it out of our plugin.
So, No Buffer Button for Social Warfare
I hope that all you die-hard Buffer fans can appreciate the reasoning here. It’s just not a right fit for our plugin.
And if you’re a Buffer user and think my reasoning is completely off— I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!