Site Update: How to Use the new Tweet, Like, +1, and Share Buttons

As you may have noticed, there are now four buttons appearing at the end of each post:

You may have wondered why they were there, and what happens when you click them. Here is what happens:

1. Tweet (Twitter)

If you have a Twitter account, and you’re logged into it, clicking the “Tweet” button will open a window that looks something like this:

If you think the story is interesting enough that your followers on Twitter would enjoy reading it, you can post a Twitter update from that window. The link to the article is automatically there, as is the post title. But since the post title is what you’re most likely to want to change, it is automatically highlighted. So if you just start typing something else, that will automatically replace the post title.

Either way, once you click the “Tweet” button in the lower right-hand corner, the status update goes out to your friends.

2. Like (Facebook)

Unlike #1, the Facebook Like button doesn’t automatically post a status update. (See #4 for that!) This one is actually used in several different places around the Internet as a vote of support, indicating you liked a page. One of the most prominent examples is Bing/Yahoo search results:

All you do is click the like button, and the vote is registered.

3. +1 (Google)

This one has a fairly similar functionality to #2, except that here it impacts Google’s search results. If you +1 a story, and someone searches for that story on Google, the search results will display a +1, indicating that someone thought the story was worth sharing. Here are two search results in Google, one +1ed and the other not:

Just like #2, all you have to do with this one is to click it. Once you’ve clicked it, when people search for that story, it will show someone looking through search results that one or more people thought the page was worth reading.

4. Share (Facebook)

This one functions just like #1. If you have and are logged into a Facebook account, clicking the link brings up a window that looks something like this:

In the box highlighted by the red arrow, you can offer your thoughts on the story. Clicking the blue “Share Link” button in the lower right-hand corner shares the link with your Facebook friends.


Hopefully this post helps you understand what these and similar buttons do—not only here, but around the Internet as well. Whenever you find one of our news or commentary stories to be particularly interesting or newsworthy, we’d love it if you would pass it along to your friends (#1 and #4) or like/+1 it so that people on search engines know it’s valuable (#2 and #3). Thank you as always for coming back to read, for commenting here, and for passing these stories along to your friends!

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13 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Those are nice points to know, Daniel! You’re a very good teacher.

    • Thanks! I have, on occasion, clicked on one of the Facebook like/share buttons, thinking it was the other, and found a perhaps unpleasant surprise. And I think that anyone else who has done that might be hesitant to click on either unless the meaning of each is explained. So I figured this would be worthwhile!

  2. Only three buttons are showing up at the moment. Do you have to have a FB account and be logged in to see them all? (Purely curious.)

    And it’s even less likely that I’ll get a Twitter account in the future than it is that I’ll get a FB account. 😛

    • That’s entirely possible; it may be that one of the buttons is smart enough to not appear if it’s not usable.

      I can’t stand Twitter. As I said in an aside on last week’s 3:1 on the Karen Peck & New River project, Twitter is for people who can’t form a complete sentence. 🙂 That said, I’m on there to follow a couple of people there who aren’t on Facebook, and to enable these links to go out.

      • Yeah, I know. I was just throwing that in. When stuff’s out there and popular, you have to learn to live with it. 🙂

      • Yeah.

      • I dumped Twitter after my account got hacked. I never used it for anything other setting it up to automatically link to all my blog posts.

        I tried to check out Google+ a few days ago, but it said you had to have an invitation, and that even if you had an invitation, all the slots were filled at the moment…great way to get people to try out your service..NOT!

        Checking it now, it looks like it’s open to anyone at this point, so I’ll look into it.

      • Well, I don’t know that Twitter is any easier or harder to hack than any other password-protected site.

        As to Google+ – yeah, they had some issues at the start, and they weren’t quite ready for 10 million people to sign up in the first week.

        However, these +1 buttons aren’t social-network only. They also show up on regular users’ search results.

      • Ah…it was a fake out by Google.

        On one page, it looks like all I needed to do to get started was log in, but once I logged in, I got the same message that they’ve “temporarily exceeded their capacity” even if I was “already invited.”

        No, I don’t know that Twitter is any easier for hackers. The hack was just the straw that made me decide it wasn’t worth the effort. If it had been Facebook, it would be a different story.

      • OK! And yes, I had noticed that screen a couple of times before I got in.

  3. thanks for the tutorial Daniel.

    The information superhighway is getting more and more complicated!


    • No problem!

      Yes, it sure is complicated! It’s complicated enough that I’m not even trying to stay on the blade of the cutting edge – but when something gets as widely accepted as Facebook / Google / Bing / Twitter, I have to concede that it’s worth paying reasonable attention to!

  4. I realize some of you are into Facebook, tweets, etc, however some of us have no need to find out how many “friends” we have. We would prefer just to link on to “comments” and leave one without all that other stuff.