Social Essentials provides you with stats about social engagement as well as social sharing buttons to add to your posts and pages.
Yes. When you activate Social Essentials, all the button display options are turned off. If you don't make a change, no buttons will be added to your site, but you can still check your social sharing stats. The plugin will also register all your social activity generated from manually inserted buttons or from people just sharing on their own accord, without any buttons present.
According to Facebook: "We deprecated the Share Button when we launched the Like button, because the Like button improves clickthrough rates by allowing users to connect with one click, and by allowing them to see which of their friends have already connected."