Share this

AddThis People blog for all sorts of reasons. For some, it’s akin to a diary. Others use it to push a viewpoint or share advice. There are those who are just desperate for any smidgeon of attention they can get. I’m probably somewhere in the middle. I don’t bother blogging unless I really have something worth saying, and when I do, I want my post to be seen by as many people as possible. Otherwise, I kind of get the feeling that I’m beating my drum for nothing.

There are approximately 8,192 different ways to share your precious content with friends and acquaintances, ranging from standing on a street corner wearing a sandwich board and ringing a bell, to emailing people left and right (sure to equally annoy those you love and hate) and syndicating yourself via RSS. RSS, in particular, is a favorite avenue of mine; in fact, I wrote a rather popular post on the topic of RSS a few months back.

RSS is great for people who’ve stumbled across your feed, but when it comes to getting your message out there, nothing beats word of mouth. Would you be more likely to check out a post if it was recommended by a friend that you know and trust? Of course you would. Thanks to social networks like Windows Live, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and others, it now easier than ever to leverage the awe-smacking power of the web to report on what’s hot and what’s not (meanwhile, science is still hard at work on that cancer cure).

Most of these platforms provide an easy way to add links; in fact, you can add a button to your post to make the process completely seamless. But the process of sharing links varies widely between services, so how do you make sure that your friends can easily post a link to your article, regardless of which social networks they use? I use a service called AddThis.

It’s simple: AddThis provides you with code to paste into your blog posts. The code can go anywhere in your individual post or your template (provided you’re lucky enough to use a service with templates), so that it appears uniformly on every new post. Not only will your posts will look more professional, but your readers will have a plethora of tools to share all your bloggy goodness with their networks, which means more hits for you. Check out my AddThis button (labeled Share) at the bottom of this post.

Ironically, the title of my post is “share this.” ShareThis happens to be the name of another popular sharing service that I had actually planned to discuss here. However, in writing this article, I was reminded (the hard way) that the world of Windows Live Spaces is a backward and sometimes downright painful place to live.

Most sharing toolbox widgets, including the aforementioned ShareThis, are built on JavaScript, the goo which enables all of the nifty little dynamic popup functions that we’ve all come to know and expect on the modern web. Unfortunately, Windows Live Spaces has decreed that JavaScript is far too dangerous a substance to entrust in the hands of mortals, so the powers that be (aka “they”) have elected to prevent it from being rendered within our blogs and Spaces. That’s right, any offending JavaScript is unapologetically plucked right out of your code. Therefore, you’ve got to be really careful when choosing a sharing service to work with Windows Live Spaces. Thankfully, AddThis provides a JavaScript-free version, which although much less spectacular to behold, actually gets the job done just as effectively.

– Greg

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9 Replies to “Share this”

  1. Nice post Greg, I’ve never quite understood, why JavaScript is not allowed, just got used to the fact that it isn’t! Just out of interest, if Spaces becomes unavailable to me!What are the other 8188 ways? 😉


  2. Yeah, I hate the scripting limitations too. This is nice info Greg. Thanks for sharing! I set up an account and will try it out.


  3. I gather that JavaScript is disabled primarily because of the perceived security concerns and the support issues. JavaScript can be used to initiate various attacks, and I suppose WL doesn’t want to be vicariously responsible for that kind of behavior. At the same time, I’m sure they don’t want the overhead of having to support a bunch of novice Spacers who can’t figure out how to make JavaScript work on their sites.


  4. I’ve run into a number of limitations in addition to the lack of JavaScript support. For instance, you can’t add markup such as <em> or <strike> within the post’s title. Named anchors within the post are stripped out as well, which makes it impossible to provide quick links at the top of long blog posts (see any Wikipedia article for reference). When I rant about how WL Spaces needs to be pulled kicking and screaming into the modern world, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about. Take off the handcuffs already, then we won’t need silly hacks and workarounds!


  5. Hello.I was writing a short description about using AddThis to share onlien contents, came across this article. You mentioned that there is actually a javaScript-free version of AddThis. May I have the link please? I will send you the link to the blog when it’s posted.Thank you.


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