Looking for social media buttons with counter
May 22, 2012 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Social buttons for website. I want the HuffPo ones. I can't have them unless we custom build them, sez dev.

My developer informs me that there's really no good way to present social media buttons uniformly (like on HuffPo, say) unless we develop them ourselves. Reason: the open source buttons differ in sizes, some have counters and some don't etcetera. The result is an unappealing hodgepodge of almost similar looking buttons that, for me, don't make the grade.

I can't imagine that no one has ever developed uniform looking buttons + counters and made them available. What I'm looking for is LinkedIn share, FB share, Twitter, Pinterest, G+ buttons WITH counter. Like on HuffPo.

Can anyone help? Thanks.
posted by NekulturnY to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That stuff your dev told you is complete and total nonsense.
posted by Kololo at 5:36 AM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

(Also, unless you're working for a very popular site, it'd advice against counters - your numbers will probably be very low and the counters will just let everyone know that.)
posted by Kololo at 5:38 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your answer, Kololo, but not a lot of counters in those sets, as far as I can see?
posted by NekulturnY at 5:52 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Check out AddThis.
posted by FreezBoy at 5:52 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

So you take the largest open source buttons available for each site, modify them to be as consistent-looking as you like, then you shrink them all to a consistent size... and you have consistent buttons. When you're talking about "develop them yourself", that makes it sound like a many-billable-hours event rather than just a little basic editing.
posted by jgreco at 5:57 AM on May 22, 2012

Actually, you and your developer may be talking about different things. If you mean live counters of likes/tweets/pins, these are generally done by including those sites' individual JavaScript widgets, which are not standardized in size, as you've noted. Making the counters work with standardized button images as linked to in the comments here does take work, as some of the sites would require you to use their APIs to do so.

Each of these sites wants you to use their code if you want to feature counts, in order to enforce their branding. If you use custom consistent buttons, you lose counts unless you do additional work. Your developer is offering an accurate assessment, assuming you're both talking about the same idea.
posted by anildash at 5:58 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Anildash, thanks for your assessment. I assumed something like this. I was just hoping that someone, somewhere had done this exact job before and decided it would be good marketing to offer it for free :)
posted by NekulturnY at 6:01 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

It looks like Huffington post uses ShareThis - or do you already know this, and it doesn't fit your needs?

Visit site, click GET SHARING TOOLS -> WEB
posted by backwards guitar at 6:05 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

it would be good marketing to offer it for free
That's actually what AddThis does. You pick the sites you want with the button actions you want, they give you a piece of code. You're done. You also get better analytics than if you coded all the buttons yourself (which yes, you're sharing with AddThis, but that's probably how they're able to offer it for free).
posted by FreezBoy at 6:06 AM on May 22, 2012

backwards: didn't know; thought they used in house developed tool
thanks, I'll ask dev why he didn't mention ShareThis (maybe he didn't know it)
posted by NekulturnY at 6:13 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

The code rendering the buttons on the HP site looks different than what ShareThis gives you, but otherwise the buttons look the same, so it'll probably suffice for your needs. Could be they're using a modified in-house version of ShareThis.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:27 AM on May 22, 2012

Also, you can replace the provided icons in plugins like ShareThis and AddThis with your own, it's just a question of naming them to match then uploading your icon set to the plugin folder.
posted by humph at 6:32 AM on May 22, 2012

The thing to be wary of with adding additional JS libraries is that they have the potential to slow your site to a crawl. I've recently seen Tweets about AddThis in particular having an infinite loop bug that can make sites take forever to load.

What I'm saying is don't kill your user experience in favor of adding social media buttons that might not ever be used.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:03 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes, what fifteen said. Using both FB/Twitter/G+'s own counter buttons (by that I mean how many times each post has been shared) and AddThis' buttons slowed my blog down a lot (especially on pages with multiple blog posts like the index and archives), so I decided to be happy without the counts.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:13 AM on May 23, 2012

If counters were/are important, it would be best to modify existing scripts as a starting point and send the requests for those details asynchronously (XmlHttpRequest, AJAX, etc...) and update the specific count details as the data is returned.
posted by jkaczor at 7:08 PM on May 24, 2012

The LA Times open sources a jQuery plugin, shareify that gets Twitter and Facebook counts. It's simple enough to use and you can style the numbers however you want.

Shareaholic offers button sets that include counters, and can be customized to include whichever social media you want.
posted by teaperson at 8:40 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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