Shortening Web Links with bit.ly

bitly pufferfish

Web link (URLs) shorteners are services that help take longer web addresses (such as https://drive.google.com/folderview?invite=COW9usIE&ndplr=1&id=0B9BoddlkD5XiYnJJ…) and transform them into manageable links (http://bit.ly/RasmussenMath). There seems to be a lot of debate on which service is the best and whether using shortners is useful. I use bit.ly and do find it useful in teaching. Here is why.

  1. Shorter links are more memorable and shareable. I put all my notes in my Google Drive, but sharing a Google Drive link is messy (as seen above). With the shorter link, it’s much easier to post it in the course shell, send the link over email, or use it in a live lecture.
  2. I can keep track of the number of clicks. I can see the steady increase in the number of clicks as the quarter goes on, so I know that the students are using my materials.
  3. I can create my own custom links. This is the main reason I use bit.ly. Back when I was looking for the shortening service, bit.ly was the only one offering the custom links. I have three bit.ly links of my own:
    1. bit.ly/RasmussenMath – my Google Drive
    2. bit.ly/RasmussenMathClips – my YouTube channel
    3. bit.ly/RasmussenMathBlog – my blog
  4. bit.ly can also bundle URLs by theme, automatically generates bitmarks for a personal blog and more.

I recommend that you learn about URL shortening services. There are a bunch of them (goo.gl, tinyurl.com, t.co, snipurl, ow.ly). The only thing is once you start using the service, it is a pain to switch over to another, so I suggest you take the time to compare what you want to do to what the service offers.

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