Restoring context to shortened URLs in Twitter

Giving me a better idea what tweets are pointing at.

When you have to fit Twitter messages into 140 characters, URL shortening services such as TinyURL and are handy, but I hate seeing tweets likes this:

This is hilarious:

Typical URLs do include information that provides context, starting with the domain name. If someone points to a “great article on [whatever]”, the fact that it’s on versus gives me a clue about how much I want to read it, so if the description with the URL doesn’t give any meaningful context, I’m not going to follow the link.

Firefox plug-in to the rescue: I recently learned from a @kasthomas about the LongURL expander, which displays the real destination of a URL when you mouse over the shortened version.

Thanks, Sean Murphy, for writing it!


By Sean Murphy on February 26, 2009 4:14 PM

Hey, no problem! I’m glad people find it as useful as I do. Thanks for spreading the word.

By Dan Brickley on February 27, 2009 1:04 AM

Good point, though often enough a popular domain name alone isn’t quite enough to indicate the dangers lurking behind a shortened link…

Another plugin from bitly:

Family filter-related stuff (PICS; POWDER) fit into the landscape here somewhere too…