Sharing Is Caring, Even with Social Media
It was a typical Sunday morning for me in Chicago. I had my Starbucks, my free wi-fi and my Google bookmarks to keep me busy for the next hour until I was fully caffeinated and ready to face the world. I came across a great article that I was really excited to share with my fellow social-networking enthusiasts — but then a very troublesome thing happened. When I went to utilize the “share” feature of this article, I was redirected with an error message. After a bit of scoffing at the thought of actually having to copy and paste the URL into my Twitter account, I began to think about how many other organizations are utilizing sharing tools and other social-media widgets and tools without troubleshooting their functionally.
After some investigating and two additional venti-size coffees, I came to the conclusion that the issues of poorly designed, prepackaged and even dysfunctional sharing tools are far more common than probably you (and I) thought. Here are some of the most common issues I encountered, as well as ways to ensure your organization doesn’t experience the same types of issues:
Widgets can be great tools for sharing customized and engaging content across the Web. An issue I came across specifically regarding widgets was instances of bad code provided for embedding content into user profiles. Would you put up a new landing page on your Web site without making sure all of your hyperlinks worked? Social-media gadgets shouldn’t be treated with any less scrutiny.
I came across this issue when I tried to “grab this code” off a widget and post it to my MySpace profile. When I previewed my profile, all I saw was HTML code instead of the organization's widget. This may occur when widgets are prepackaged; they may embed a code that works on some social-media profile sites (for example, Facebook) but not on others (say, MySpace). If you don’t have profiles on these sites, create them and use them for testing to be sure everything works as it should before going live to your online audience. If the “embed widget” option doesn’t work on certain social-media sites, don’t include those social-media icons as an option to embed.