As the internet has grown, so have the URL or web addresses to websites. I lot of them have gotten so long, that it is hard to post them to social media sites, or even share them with our friends via email. To answer this problem new services came up that brought to the web URL shortening.
What is URL shortening? Well we have all seen it, someone posts a link to Facebook or Twitter and it looks a lot like this, http://bit.ly/psd4Gl. Now this isn’t the actual URL, the actual URL is much longer and confusing, and may not even be able to be copied and pasted to work. So you plug the actual URL into a URL shortener site, like Bitly being used here, and it will give you a nicer, cleaner URL for users to click on that will send them to the actual site. There are a few services that you can use to do this, such as Bitly, TinyURL, and Google URL Shortener, to name a few.
But as with all things, there is a darkside to this technology too. Some people use URL shorteners to hide their actual URLs before posting them to your Facebook or Twitter pages. This means you may unknowingly click on something, and be sent to a malware or porn site. So the old addage of the internet holds true for URL shortening too, if you don’t know or trust the person who sent it, don’t click on it!
So if you are like me and have a long URL to post and don’t want to take up all to copy that link, try using a URL shortener to make it more user friendly. Just make sure to let the person know who you are sending it to what it is, so they do not think it is malware.