The social psychology of the Share bar

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Across all the Offbeat Empire sites, we've always had our sharing bar (you know, the thing that allows you to easily Like or Send via Facebook, Tweet, Pin, etc) at the end of the each post. The theory here was basic: you read the post, then you share.

But I had an aha moment looking at another blog where I realized that the share bar also gives an indication of whether you should read the post. When you go to read a post, and you see right at the top that a shitload of people have already Liked it or shared it, you get a clue as to whether the post matters.

The share bar's action is more than just about sharing after the fact — seeing how many other people have shared something taps into a basic tenet of social psychology, telling you that it might be worth YOU taking a look (and maybe sharing), too.

GOD I LOVE SOCIAL PSYCH.

It only took a few minutes for my long-suffering developer to copy the sharebar to appear at the top of the post as well as at the bottom. The results were immediate, and dramatic: