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Short is the new long

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 13th April 2009

If you are an avid micro-blogging user then you will no doubt be aware of the perenial struggle to condense the brilliant thought or idea you want to share with the world into a mere 140 characters.

When you add long, rambling URLs into the mix, the headache increases.

Which is why URL shorteners like bitly and tinyurl quickly came to the rescue, offering spaced-out tweeters a much needed character boost.

But now these knights in shining armour are threatening many components of the world-wide-web and the future of our long-agonised-over mini blog posts.

The fear is that, if one of these shortening services were for some reason to fold, then the links they pointed to would be lost forever, leaving a wide array of meaningless tweets, status updates and blog posts, with useless links.

Dave Winer (via Steve Winton) has one possible solution:

“One easy way to lower the cost of URL-shortening is to use our own domain names in place of tinyurl.xom,,, et al. Any one of those services could take the lead here by allowing for that. Let me map my own domain onto theirs, easily back up all my data, and give me the ability to switch services when I want, or when I need to.”

And now, following the launch of the Diggbar, there is a new threat from URL shorteners that wrap your page in a frame. There are many downsides to this as well as Andrew Girwood expertly highlights over on Econsultancy.

I’m surprised this issue hasn’t been raised before now and the solution outlined sounds a good one. Now, it just needs someone to come up with an easy-to-use implementation and we’ll be set.

picture credit

Danny Whatmough