A little while ago I added the Sphere Related Content plugin to my blog, and I’ve been using the ShareThis plugin for social bookmarking links for a while now. The former should theoretically benefit users who want to read more about a topic I’ve written about, while the latter should make it easy to share my articles with others.
WordPress makes it easy to add plugins but I wonder if these are actually useful my readers. Please take a moment to fill out this survey and let me know.
I used a Google Docs and Spreadsheets form to make the poll. Later I’ll post about how you can do the same on your blog as well.
I just ran across this post on Aza Raskin’s blog about a technique used to cut down the number of social bookmarking links displayed to users. I’m sure you’ve seen them–the 20 or so colorful buttons that have popped up at the bottom of every blog post on the web, for Digg, Del.icio.us and similar sites. On my blog they are hidden behind the ShareThis Widget but Raskin had a better idea – why not just display the ones each user actually uses?
This is a very cool way to manage buttons but the technique has wider privacy implications. I could, for example, put links to… questionable sites, and then use some Ajax to collect that information about users. If I had other information about you (say you logged into my site or otherwise gave me an email address) I could link it together and build a database.
On the other hand, it’s not like I can grab your entire browsing history or follow you around after you leave my site – I have to specifically create a link and check it for every site I want to know about. And unlike your browser history this info is cleared every time you close your browser. So it’s not spyware or anything as intrusive as, say, the Alexa toolbar.
I can think of a bunch of cool ways to apply this technique, but I’m not sharing until I implement one. Feel free to post any ideas (or misgivings) in the comments below.