VirtualPresence: Do you have that URL in Small?

If you used a service like Twitter for any amount of time, you quickly run into the problem of sharing a link through it. 140 character is not a lot of space, but there is a solution for this through URL shorteners. There is a whole lot of them, but the basics are the same for all. You give them a URL that you want to share, and they return you with a very short replacement URL that you can then use in Twitter (or anywhere else for that matter). When someone clicks the replacement URL, they are sent to the original one.
From a technical standpoint, a URL shortener is not that hard to create which is probably the reason why there are so many. Let's have a look at a few:
  1. TinyURL: This is about the first one I remember seeing online. Basic stuff, convert a long url into a short one. As a bonus, they'll let you choose an extension if you want to (good luck finding something readable that's not yet used).
  2. icanhaz: A URL shortener based on the lolcats. They also let you suggest an extension yourself.
  3. bit.ly: A newer URL shortener that took the idea further. If you shorten a URL with bit.ly, you can later on go and see how often it was clicked. They also download the page you referred to and archive it, so you can still see it if it would go down.
What about my band?
I recommend going with a URL shortener that can show you clickthroughs, like bit.ly. New services that build on Twitter start up regularly, if someone clicks your shortened URL through any of those, it will show up on the bit.ly info page as well. If you're not interested in clickthroughs, I'd still use it. Bit.ly is one of the shortest domains, and you never know when you change your mind and want to see them anyway.

Do you have a question about using webapps for your band? Drop me an email, and I might answer it on the blog.

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