I love Twitter, but it's not for everybody and I can understand why some people don't get it or don't like it. One of the things I like is how the 140 char limit forces you to compose your tweet more carefully than you would in email or a blog. Tweeted URL links are counted as chars, so they can become a problem. Whether you use Twitter or not, there are occasions when you would like to replace some cosmologically long URL, like this http://maps.google.com/maps?q=27%C2%B09%E2%80%B236.73%E2%80%B3S+70%C2%B029%E2%80%B248.4%E2%80%B3W+&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=-27.268058,-70.423737&spn=0.330804,0.558929&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=37.819897,72.158203&t=h&z=11 with this http://j.mp/dmYEHy. That's where URL shorteners come in and there are many shortening services out there.
Until very recently, I had settled on using j.mp exclusively for Twitter because it was the first service I became aware of that produced the shortest URLs without going to unicode. j.mp is owned by bit.ly. With the recent advent of Twitter auto-shortening, bit.ly seems to be scrambling to keep users and in that process I suddenly noticed j.mp was now being redirected to bit.ly, which is not as short.
Moreover, j.mp was taking much more time to process a URL due to the growing JS eye-candy on their web page, not to mention "processing" your data. I can really see this with my web client bloat-detector: a 1 GHz Power Mac G4.
Finally, I decided to give bit.ly the chop in favor of goo.gl. Here's why:
- Not as short as j.mp but generally shorter than Tweeter's auto-shortner
- Tweeter auto-shortner can leave fairly explicit URL fragments
- Sometimes I don't want to divert attention with the longer Twitter URL string
- It has much lower JS overhead (Goog KISSes it) which makes for faster translation
- Goog doesn't need to riffle my wallet for this service
- Goog was tracking my data anyway :/