A brief note on the sharing buttons you see (or don’t see) at the bottom of each post here. This might be instructive to new bloggers, assuming you don’t want to game the system for maximum followers because that’s not what I’m doing.
By default an entire row is reserved for WordPress.com Likes. These are supposed to work like the usual Like/+1 buttons, except reserved for WordPress users and with one significant difference: they link to each “liking” user’s Gravatar which in turn usually includes a link to his or her own weblog or website.
I’m sure you can see the problem here: WordPress Likes are perfect spam machines, and sadly that was their primary use on this blog. Commercial bloggers would more or less randomly like several consecutive posts. They usually never provided any other feedback, and vanished when I didn’t like & follow back. Conversely, the people who did provide topical comments or pingbacks almost never used WordPress Likes.
Since I frankly despise the “follow me, follow you” game that artificially boosts follower counts on social networks, I’ve decided to hide the entire WordPress Likes row and save some space. It’s too bad – personally I still use this button on other WordPress blogs the way it was intended, to endorse posts that I found interesting.
With that said, here are some quick notes on the other sharing buttons.
Email sounds useful but isn’t. You need to enter a CAPTCHA to make sure you’re not a spam mailer – as if spam mailers would manually press buttons! Simply pasting the permalink into your mail program is much faster.
Print also sounds useful but isn’t. You might expect a clean printable view of the post, but instead you merely get a print dialog. Outputting to Adobe PDF adds a blank page and does not preserve embedded links. Useless.
Press This is an oddball. Copying text or links with automatic attribution is certainly useful, but it’s intended as a web browser extension. Why would you want to put it on your blog? Apparently only for other WordPress users who forgot to install the bookmarklet… a small audience for a rather big button! Off it goes.
So you no longer see any of the “special” sharing buttons on this blog. What remains is a selection of the (probably) most relevant buttons that fits in a single row.
PS – Found another good reason to hide WordPress Likes: each spam Like generates a blog notification which can’t be deleted and forever clutters the notification list…
2012-12-21: Disabled all sharing buttons since nobody used them.