Lots has been written in the past about the use of URL shorteners and how they have the potential to break the web if they suddenly become unavailable. It’s one of the reasons I’ve moved away from services like bit.ly (particularly in light of the current volatile political situation in Libya), in favour of my own private URL shortening domain – cazm.eu. I figured at least I would have some control over that one!
So imagine my disbelief this morning when I posted a short link to a blog post from my public @mm_cms account on Twitter (via Twitter for iPhone):
I was puzzled because although I had added the http:// to my short URL, Twitter had removed this for display on the website and Twitter for iPhone clients.
Digging deeper, I realised it got worse – what was actually there was their own shortlink masquerading as mine – http://t.co/GIKECyU.
That’s just stupid, I thought – double decoding is unnecessary and potentially full of pitfalls. But things got even sillier… because I noticed that my auto-tweet from the WordPress WP-Twitter plugin which appeared in my timeline from when I originally published my post wasn’t shortened – but had started out with a longer URL!
I must confess, I sat there and had a WTF moment over that… anyone know what’s going on? And, more importantly, how I can STOP Twitter shortening my URLs without my permission? It wasn’t necessary in that tweet, so why bother?
And having just pushed this post live, I’ve discovered it’s EVEN WORSE – I put the shortened URL [http://cazm.eu/linkwtf] into the WP to Twitter field manually this time (from within the blog), and guess what – my timeline (on @cazm) has the MY shortened URL, not a crappy Twitter one!
[Some readers may not be able to see the tweet linked from the above image, if they are not following my private @cazm account. Sorry!]