In the pre-Twitter/Facebook days, the “share” buttons across the web were simple static links. There were links above and below articles allowing the user to email, bookmark, or share an article across a variety of social networks, but they were static in that they were simple images with no realtime information baked into them. On the other hand, today’s buttons have constantly-changing data showing, for example, how many times a story has been reTweeted on Twitter or Liked on Facebook. This realtime information requires a separate call to each respective site to receive the current data. This process takes time, and when a web publisher or blogger uses three or four buttons beneath multiple stories on a given page, each unique button has to load.
…Button Overload is beginning to take shape across the web. Often, I simply want to read a story that sounds interesting, and I don’t care if it has been liked 75 times on Facebook, reTweeted 45 times on Twitter, shared 5 times on Buzz, and that I can be the first to submit it to Digg.