From the 2012 Olympic Games in London to Hurricane Sandy in the Northeastern United States, social media sites have captured the thoughts of internet users around the world as they discussed the headlines online. Social infrastructure and data platform AddThis crunched the numbers to find out which platforms, services, people, and moments made the biggest impact in 2012. Some of them may surprise you.
Sharing of Facebook content via AddThis grew by about a third over the past year, and the social network remains the leading choice among the more than 300 services supported by the application. Facebook accounted for 44 percent of AddThis sharing volume in 2010, up from 33 percent the previous year.
All it takes to “share” a favorite website with your friends or “bookmark” an article to save and post on Facebook is a simple click. In fact, the “AddThis” feature on everything from magazine to social networking sites has become so commonplace that even the savviest of Internet consumers may not realize the information they give away each time they click that button.
But now the convenient feature is very much in the spotlight thanks to a federal lawsuit claiming the company behind AddThis, Clearspring Technologies, broke the law by using the widget to gather information on users, including children. The suit was filed in the central district of California by attorneys for a group of minors and their parents.
Today Clearspring, in conjunction with a number of other large technology companies including Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, have announced OExcahnge, an “open sharing protocol”. The service attempts to define how sharing platforms can read and set users’ sharing preferences. The two largest companies that are currently absent from supporting the standard are Facebook and Twitter.
Want to quickly embed all sharing platforms into your website? AddThis is a great solution for doing just that, and today the company announced the inclusion of Facebook’s Like button. In order to implement the Like button, you’ll need to use the AddThis toolbox, rather than the single button widget as described by Justin Thorp this morning. This is the first time I’ve personally seen the toolbox implemented and I have to admit that it’s pretty slick.
Twitter is the most popular social sharing option on the 100 top blogs in the blogosphere. So says a recent report from Royal Pingdom that studied how common dedicated buttons, for different means of sharing web content, were on top blogs. The study found that dedicated Twitter buttons existed on 66 of the top 100 blogs (as per Technorati’s Top 100 list). Facebook buttons were only on 58 blogs, and Digg only on 43. Poor old Google Buzz is at the bottom of sharing choices.
This morning Clearspring officially announced that they will soon deprecate the company’s Launchpad widget platform, integrating features directly into AddThis which will become Clearspring’s central platform. The shift makes a ton of sense, as the concept of “widgets” doesn’t resonate as strongly with users as “sharing” does. While Facebook and other social platforms want to be a centralized place for the content a user shares, AddThis serves as the sharing switchboard.
After acquiring AddThis last year, Clearspring set out to grow its own web presence and make its media-sharing tools as accessible as possible to social media users across the globe. We’ve received an update from Clearspring, following up on its acquisition. So far, the follow-up looks good, and provides an encouraging look at Clearpring’s swift integration of the AddThis distribution platform for sharing web content.
Clearspring cites the April comScore report showing a great deal of growth, reaching over half a billion people. That’s up from the 200 million web users Clearspring reached prior to the acquisition of AddThis, more than doubling its web presence.