Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Technology Lesson: Shortening Links on Twitter

Q: How can I shorten links on Twitter?

A: Hoo boy!

Twitter restricts updates to 140 characters. (20 less than a text message!) So if you have a website to share, or a long hyper link, your message will be severely restricted. This is a big pain.

Fortunately, software and programs exist to shorten your URL. The URL will redirected the user to the full link. Most of the time, this shorter URL will last a long time and track page visits for you.

Many tweeters use other programs to Tweet. I used TweetDeck, which shortens the link for me. You can see TweetDeck in action below.

In the first image I've typed the link and TweetDeck is automatically shortening the link for me. In the second image the work is done. If I click the link, TweetDeck will display the full text of the hyperlink.:

In these images TweetDeck shortens the link to tinyurl. There are many options. (I like bacn.me because I think it's hilarious.) Ow.ly is popular because it shortens urls and tracks page views. All of these sites will shorten links--some will require that you go directly to the site to breven your URL, but some will not. Some will include benefits, but others may not.

Most Twitter clients will provide a number of options. Here's TweetDeck's list. Note that I can add bacn.me to the list if I want to:

Feel free to "shop around" before you commit.

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