Friday, 25 September 2009

Beware shortened links from dubious sources

Those of us using Twitter more and more will no doubt have used a URL link shortening tool in an effort to eek out those 140 characters as far as possible.  Since it released it's latest version, Tweetdeck even now has an automatic link-shortening option so you don't even have to choose whether you want any links you paste in to be squashed into format

It's a dilemma, to shorten or not to shorten?

In search (whether natural or pay per click (PPC)) smart link strategy (i.e what the URL string says) can make a big difference to your click through rate (CTR). In Twitter, link shorteners are great for saving characters but when presented with a tiny url, a or an url you don't get much clue as to where you are being taken, which requires a degree of trust in the person's tweet you are about to click on, unless they are good enough to squeeze into their message some indication of the type of content it leads to so you can form your own judgement. I am increasingly seeing [video] or [blog] styles evolving into good twettiquette. But that frequently defies the object of character squeezing your URL in the first place. Hmmmm.

The decision is muddled further with re-tweets. (RT). Should you click on a shortened link from someone you possibly don't know because it must have been considered sufficiently interesting for the person you do "know" to have been retweeted it in the first place? (Relationships being a relative concept in the twittersphere). It's a tricky one.

Via TechCrunch I found this Symantec video warning of the perils of dodgy links & I think it's worth sharing. Shame they couldn't run as far as a voice over because it left me jabbing at volume buttons on two laptops to check I wasn't going deaf.

Thanks to a great service from Topify I am able to manage the Twitter spammers much more effectively, and make much smarter decisions about who I agree to let follow me or decide to follow, because the service gives me more detail at a glance in the XXXX wants to follow you email notifications I get, so for now at least in so far as the ways I am using Twitter, I am erring on the side of trusting links within most of the tweets I am likely to click on.

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