23 Things for Archivists

Thing 9: URL Shorteners

By Kate Theimer

One thing you will probably notice very quickly on Twitter is that 140 characters is somewhat limiting, and that part of the value of Twitter is that people use it to share links to interesting things on the Web. These two factors combined to create public demand for services that provide “URL shortening.” These services allow you to type in any URL—however long—and they provide you with a translated short one to replace it. People who click on your short link are re-routed to the correct URL by the service.  You’ve probably already seen these on messages people send to the Archives & Archivists listserv, etc.

There are many services you can use, but among the most popular are: Tiny URL and Bit.ly. While probably most popular among Twitter users, these shortened URLs can be used anywhere you find a longer link cumbersome. TinyURL also provides you the option of creating custom tiny URLs, for example ones that include your organizations’s name or acronym. Note that they may not be a good idea for anything that requires long term access—the link will only work as long as the company continues to provide the routing service.

Tasks

  1. Try out one or two of the URL shortening services.
  2. Include some shortened links in your tweets.

Blog Prompts

  • Which service did you try, and did you find it easy to use?
  • What are some other purposes, besides Twitter, that you think a short URL could be useful? (Hint: Facebook posts would be one.)

Resources

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  1. […] shorteners are not included on the library list and thing 9 on the archives […]

  2. […] here’s another reason to not use the native Twitter client: the tool described in this Thing, URL shorteners, is actually built in to most third party clients. Seesmic, for example, […]

  3. My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I might
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    Look forward to looking at your web page again.

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