Megan McQ’s Musings

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Last Wednesday, ReadWriteWeb posted that bit.ly 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:

http://www.thisisareallylongurl.com/do_you_see_the_ridiculousness_here/may_o5_2009/trying-to-continue-ridiculousness-with-more-words/i-actually-wish-this-was-a-real-URL/for-realzies.html

…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.

tinyurls

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. bit.ly: Bit.ly 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. is.gd: Super-short URLs. Perfect when you need to cram in a long title or explanation in 140 characters or less.

4. cli.gs: 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. tr.im: 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, tr.im does not repeat URLs.

6. BudURL.com: 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.  Awe.sm: 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. ow.ly: This URL shortening service is an element of Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a Twitter toolbox, which helps users manage multiple twitternames.

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

And…just for fun:

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

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Uncle Bob: Hey Meg.

Me: What’s up?

Uncle Bob: What’s Twitter?

Companies all over are asking themselves this very question. And that’s a good thing.

twitter-future-man-cartoon-med

With millions of people on the Web every day, there’s no doubt that people are talking about your company; their experiences, their praises, their critiques, their general opinion about your awesomeness, etc.

In sum, the digital word-of-mouth (WoM) conversation is already out there. Which is why it’s great that companies are echoing Uncle Bob when they ask, “What’s Twitter?”

It’s a difficult task to learn about new platforms that are revolutionizing the way companies do business. Especially because the new media industry moves so quickly.

If your company isn’t already in the new media space…how can you catch up?

The first step would be to learn a) What new media is, and; b) How the ‘important’ platforms function. This step takes time, but as with every new venture, it starts with a single step.

It’s important to note that it could be potentially devastating to your company’s brand to join the platforms and start using them, especially if you don’t know with whom you are conversing.

That’s why it’s great to ask questions.

UPDATE: 05.05.09, Ragan.com (a prominent communicator guide) posted an article by Geoff Livingston at The Buzz Bin on how to introduce your company to social media. The post sites that forming an internal blog to share and recommend sites privately may be a good way to become familiar with the sphere.

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