The announcement that Twitter is rolling out a URL shortening service integral to the tweet messaging system is probably good news to most – the upsides are:
- Simplicity (don’t need to do it oneself),
- Usability (‘intelligent’ naming of links in tweet)
But on the downside, we may be losing control of our links.
Now, I’m not privy to the full details of the upcoming feature and so it would be wrong of me to make assumptions, but here are a few of my concerns:
- Can I get at the data?
- I use bit.ly to shorten my links by hand, and have set up my SM client applications to use it, too, with my account details. I can see how (un)popular my links are in the outside world and have a single place (the bit.ly management page) where I can maintain and review things I’ve found useful and worth repeating. I also have the ability to customise the bit.ly url to be something that makes sense to me when I review link click-throughs.
Will I get the same features from the twitter shortening service? Or, indeed, do I need the same features? I still want to know how many click-throughs there have been; I’m particularly loath to lose the ability to see click-throughs on my link as compared to all people who have shared the URL.
- What if I can’t get at the data?
- Then I’m stuck. I can still use bit.ly to shorted my links, paste them into the tweet and then (presumably) twitter may or may not re-shorten them, but what about the easy to read naming? Or will Twitter ‘look through’ the bit.ly link I provide to the original URL and just shorten that, bypassing my short version and leaving me with no metrics?
- If it ain’t broke
- To a certain extent, I feel for company’s that believe the only way they can better themselves is by doing everything themselves (either by building it or acquiring it). However, there are many, many perfectly good, useful and useable URL shorteners out there. Why can’t the twitter ‘intelligent naming’ and shortening of URLs make use of one (or any) of these services, rather than lock us in to a specific one. (If it transpires that the service does provide this facility, then fantastic! I take it all back. Watch this space.)