Megan McQ’s Musings

Archive for the ‘URL’ Category


Posted on: May 12, 2009

A couple of months ago, I came across Wordle, a word cloud generator. Word clouds create images using words (profound, I know). The larger the word indicates the more times it has been used throughout a particular area of text.

Wordle has a variety of options that allow for the creation of beautiful, unique word clouds. For example, users can cut and paste a section of text or use a URL to generate the text of their cloud. Colors, fonts and direction of text are other options that may be used.

I think the best element of this program is that it looks at the entire text to create the tag cloud. This function differs from most blog tag clouds because typically tag clouds only generate from the ‘tags’ of a blog post, not the entirety of the text within the post itself.

I told myself that I would use Wordle on my blog a number of times to visually represent what I write about. Admittedly, I went a little overboard and created three Wordle tag clouds this time. I hope you can see why!

I may also make a word cloud for one of my favorite songs or poems and update this post later. I’d love to see links to your Wordles, or if you know of another word/tag generator, please comment below!  Thanks! Now, without further adieu:




All images created by the web application are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.


Last Wednesday, ReadWriteWeb posted that was the most used URL shortening service used on Twitter.

What does this mean? Heck, what’s the purpose of a URL shortening service?

The advent of Twitter gave rise to new services to make the platform more usable. For example, Twitter’s 140 character updates leave little room to communicate long messages.

Thus, tweeple (people who tweet) tend to link to their complex messages through URLs. The problem is that URLs tend to be really, really ridiculously good looking long and complicated. Take for example:

…you get my point. This type of URL alone would not fit in a tweet, nor be  explained in the limited space a tweet allows.

So, there have been more than several startups that shorten URLs so that they may condensed to less than 140 characters (typically 25 characters or less). While there have been some critiques of URL shortening services, the general consensus is that they are here to stay. To distinguish themselves from the market, each tiny URL service has unique attributes.


Here are 10 URL shortening services, and their distinguishing characteristics:

1. TinyURL: One of the more popular services, TinyURLs do not expire and the site has more than 900K visitors per month.

2. is the other popular URL shortening service. Users can register with the Web site and track the complete history of the link that includes real-time clickthrough reports.

3. Super-short URLs. Perfect when you need to cram in a long title or explanation in 140 characters or less.

4. People can signup to use this service. Users can then view metrics about the link. This platform also has the ability to be embedded into Google or iGoogle, making the platform readily accessible.

5. Creates unique URLs. Statistics that are generated are only representative of that particular link. Some URL shortening services share the same URL. For example, if two people want to shorten the same link, the service will generate only one URL. However, does not repeat URLs.

6. BudURL’s interesting element is that its metrics track the user location and IP address. Creepy? I think yes. However, BudURL also updates its analytic information in real-time.

7. While this is a paid URL shortening service, the platform aggregates your domain name’s shortened links from multiple platforms and tracks how the link is dispersed across the Internet, a pretty powerful tool.

8. This URL shortening service is an element of Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a Twitter toolbox, which helps users manage multiple twitternames.

9. A shortening service that allows users to use different top-level domains depending on the type of information that’s being posted: i.e., for videos, for music or for photos.

And…just for fun:

10. “There are only a couple of rules for; bacon links only please and no spam. That’s it.”

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