The familiar little Facebook widget for instant sharing found on news articles, video pages, and other sites throughout the Web got an upgrade Monday, now displaying share count in real time.
Launched three years ago, Facebook Share is now a megalithic sharing entity on Facebook, where users share over 2 billion pieces of content weekly.
Of course, sites external to Facebook want their pages to be shared as much as possible, resulting in the employment of a variety of widgets from the plethora of popular social networking sites, like Twitter and Digg. In fact, Twitter's "retweet" widget has employed a counter for some time now.
While most of us will only see the counter aspect of this upgrade, Facebook Share now comes with an analytics tool set, quite useful for Web publishers who want to track how users interact with content. The Facebook Developers Blog says that Share analytics will show how many users share a link on Facebook, how many times the link is "liked," how many comments the link receives, and how many times users actually click-through to the actual site from the posted link. This data could prove invaluable in determining what content in particular draws Facebook users away from their favorite social networking site for a few minutes.
Apparently, the data has been put to work already by a number of sites. Techmeme selects top stories with the data, bit.ly uses it to analyze traffic, and awe.sm simply gives the information to its clients so they can track their own analytics.