It's a concept that we all learned as tykes in the sandbox with our first red wagon or dump truck: it's good to share. Now, in this fanciful web 2.0 future (though I'm not yet convinced that web 2.0 has grown up all that much since kindergarten), sharing takes on a whole new meaning. A host of social bookmarking and networking services allows anyone to save, post and describe links publicly and amongst their friends, on sites like del.icio.us, Ma.gnolia, Digg, Facebook and Newsvine.
As we prepare to rethink the story pages that make up the bulk of msnbc.com, we want to know how our readers use (or don't) these types of social sites. Most sharing sites have special interactive bookmarks or browser plug-ins that help users save web pages as they surf. Some sites, including many of our competitors, even sprinkle their pages with icons encouraging users to "Digg this!" or "Facebook that!" My favorite collection of share this badges comes courtesy of Add This.com, who have abstracted the concept into a widget - that's right, there's a cottage industry for adding social network icons to your site.
Now comes the part where you share with us. Do you use a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us or Ma.gnolia, a social networking site like Facebook or a social news site like Digg or Newsvine? If so, how do you add (or digg or seed) content to the site - with bookmarklets or browser plug-ins? If you do use one of those social sites, do you ever click on icons embedded in a web page itself?
And those of you who don't use a sharing site, what do you think of those icons? Are you annoyed by all of those extra, unexplained icons on the page? Do you just ignore them? Do they make you curious about what all the fuss is about - curious enough to sign up for a site like Digg?
Let us know what you think in the comments. We've got our own ideas about putting social network badges all over the place, but we want to hear from you. We can be an opinionated bunch about design, but we keep a pretty open mind. I'll follow up in a few days with some thoughts and responses to the comments you leave.