2013 called and it wants it's social media links back.
The social media landscape has grown far more varied, controversial and complex in the past decade, but Stack Exchange still seems to promote a select few without any apparent rhyme or reason (other than legacy).
The "Share" button has quick links to Facebook and "Twitter" (as pictured above), but not Threads or Mastodon or Parler or Tumblr or Truth Social.
In user profiles, Stack Exchange has space for three links:
- A generic website link
- A GitHub profile
The generic website link is useful for just about anybody... but why, in 2023, is Twitter the sole social media site for profiles?
And while GitHub makes sense for some of the more technical sites, shouldn't Beer, Wine & Spirits allow a link to Untappd, etc? Why would Gardening & Landscaping users want to link to their GitHub profile? It feels like we are implicitly telling our non-technical sites that they are second-class.
Now that Twitter is rebranding itself to "𝕏", perhaps it's time to reconsider the prominence of certain social media sites over all others.
For the Share pop up, I propose removing the social media links entirely.
We already have a handy "Copy link" button which works for anything from micro-blogging to SMS.
For User Profiles, I propose one of the following solutions:
1. Remove the social media link completely.
We have a rich text About Me section where users can add whatever links they want.
2. Rename the "Twitter" link to "Social media"
If users want to keep the link, or if it's too tightly entwined in code or UI designs to be easily removed, then can we just rename it and let users put a link to whatever social media site they prefer?
3. Add arbitrarily many links
Give users the ability to add arbitrary links (up to some reasonable limit). This might be friendlier to non-technical Stack Exchange sites where GitHub is totally irrelevant.
If we care about icons, it would not be difficult to determine an appropriate icon based on the domain (e.g. Twitter, GitHub, YouTube, defaulting to a basic link icon)
Note: This post was inspired by the accepted answer to Add a Mastodon link in addition to Twitter?.