There are some words in the past two decades that have become part of our everyday vocab, like ‘Google it’ or should I ‘Uber’. Another word we all know and use is – ‘share’.
The share icon appears everywhere on the internet – from Facebook, through to Google to literally every site and article you read. But there is no standard share icon
What do all these share icons have in common?
They are conveying the same action – share! Every website, post, link and button on the internet has a share capability. Less than two decades old, the share button has become a social currency both online and offline.
Every version of the share button has its own history (even Playstation). It would take a book to look at each variation that exists but we think it is more interesting to look at what this little button has done to create a new world where sharing in some instances is currency and not just in an abstract sense.
In the creative part of the internet, users can actually purchase content (such as eBooks, music and more) through tweets. Pay with a tweet is actual software
that gates content that is only accessible if a user tweets or posts.
The economic impact and exchange value of shares on social media is also a way for business, for example, running online competitions where sharing is the mechanic to enter.
So next time you see a share button, remember that an icon originally created to represent the generic action of sharing a web page has become a currency in itself.