When the internet was created, ease-of-use wasn’t really front-of-mind. Well, in some ways it was, especially when you consider the base from which we were starting from. Prior to the Internet, the only way you could connect a computer to another computer was to talk in the language of those computers, and connecting to machines on the other side of the world was extremely difficult – if possible at all! So, by comparison, connecting computers via the Internet seems far easier.
As new protocols like the World Wide Web (i.e. the ‘web’, or what you see when you use your Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox browser) emerged, there wasn’t really any success (nor much effort) in re-casting some of the machine-friendly components of the technology to be more human-friendly. People just got used to typing ‘www’ and ‘.com’, for example, or had to learn the order of “http://”.
For technology folk, it was somewhat amusing and puzzling when various internet nomenclature started to become commonplace in non-technical circles. But even with people adopting the technical language, you still had the problem of the length of internet addresses – also known as URLs. As the internet has expanded, this problem is only more pronounced.
So, URL shortening services have started to gain popularity. One such example is Bitly – at http://bit.ly – which allows you to set up a free account and then enter long URLs and have them shortened. So, for example, http://www.catholic.geek.nz/Blog/about/ becomes http://bit.ly/ZFj8kg.
It is a good way to save links you have found around the internet, and also a good way to share links without entering a paragraph of text. Plus, you can see when people have clicked on your link. Try it out the next time you see a long link or a website you want to save for later.