Social Media Iconology 101
You’ve seen them everywhere, and you may have heard them get mentioned in website planning or e-marketing strategies. You might be wondering: what the heck are they? These little icons are sometimes found in the header or footer of a web page, or even under a photo or video. Usually in a section titled “Share,” social media icons are used to spread and share content on various social media platforms.
If you don’t know what half of them mean, don’t fret! What follows is a short list of some of the most common social media share icons, and what you should use them for. Each social media platform requires that you have an account (the ones listed below are free) with their main site before you can use their share icons found across the web. Ready to get started?
What it is: +1, a public webpage recommendation system that allows Google account users to rate up page
When to click it: when you want to publicly recommend a page or add it to your Google profile
What it is: Blogger, a free blogging platform that enables users to quickly and easily create and publish content.
When to click it: To post this article to your Blogger page.
What it is: Delicious, a social web bookmarking service that allows users to save, organize, and share web pages. Word on the street is that Delicious has been declining in popularity in recent years.
When to click it: When you want to bookmark the page you are on to Delicious.
What it is: Digg, a social news website that allows users to vote stores up or down.
When to click it: When you like an article and want to vote it up, increasing its popularity and adding to the chance that other Digg users will find the article on the front page of their website.
What it is: Flickr, a photo sharing website where users post photos and get comments by other users.
When to click it: To share a photo on your Flickr account.
What it is: Google Buzz, a sharing platform built into Gmail that allows users to share content and follow others who post content, all of which is visible in the user’s inbox. Also integrates with Twitter, Blogger, and other social media platforms to serve as a conglomerate sharing system.
When to click it: to share content on your Google Buzz feed.
What it is: LinkedIn, a professional networking site that allows individuals and businesses to connect and share content with other professionals
When to click it: to share a site on your LinkedIn Page
What it is: Reddit, a social news website that allows users to post content to be voted “up” or “down” by other users.
When to click it: to vote an item up in Reddit; like Digg, a high number of votes increases the likelihood of other users finding the article on the website’s home page.
What it is: RSS, an acronym meaning Real Symple Syndication. It’s a web feed format that allows users to subscribe to and stream content from a news or blog site to an RSS reader.
When to click it: to subscribe to the website you are using and have its contents update in your RSS reader. You must have an RSS reader, like Google Reader, for this to work.
What it is: StumbleUpon, a special type of search engine (dubbed a discovery engine) that tracks down and suggests web content to its users.
When to click it: Give the site a thumbs up and it will be placed in your favorites on StumbleUpon. The site can also be rated down and commented on, helping other like-minded users on StumbleUpon know if they might like the site.
What it is: Tumblr, a blog-style platform with a focus on sharing content like photos, links, videos, and text.
When to click it: To share content you find interesting and spread it across other Tumblr blogs.
What it is: Twitter, a microblogging platform that allows users to post and follow text-based Tweets, or posts up to 140 characters long.
When to click it: To Tweet, or share this content on your Twitter page and on the home pages of your Followers.
What it is: WordPress, a popular blog authoring and platform
When to click it: To share content on your WordPress blog
*Please note that Facebook, Youtube, and Email icons have been excluded from this list because they are so widespread, even your great aunt Doris gets the gist of what they do.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and every site may vary on which share icons they post. However, I hope this helps decipher some of the common ones, and perhaps inspire you to try a new social media site.
So, faithful readers, now it’s your turn: what would you have added to this list?
(Oh look what I found. Some great examples right here! How about trying them out?)