Twitter’s use of tinyurl

Sunday 19th April

A lot of discussion is taking place about digg, twitter, URL shortening and page-framing. In twitter’s case, the solution seems obvious to me.

Jeffrey Zeldman’s talked about it, google proposed a solution, and Jeremy Keith took things a step further. Whilst URL-shortening undoubtedly has its uses, associated drawbacks suggest we haven’t found the best solution yet.

Ultimately, twitter’s problem stems from its decision to embed visible URLs directly in individual tweets. From a usability perspective, this is generally a bad idea: users tend not to care about the arcane technical details of a web page’s location. They may care, to a small extent, about the domain a link points to, but they almost never need to know the details. Even if they are interested in this minutiae, browsers usually make the URL discoverable, displaying it in the status bar when the link is focused.

Here’s what, I suggest, twitter should do:

Posting a single URL with a short message is an extremely common use case on twitter, and it’s surely not beyond the developers to tweak the model to cater for this.



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