DIY Short URLs

With the demise, and later reprise, of `tr.im`, the Twitterati were momentarily consumed with the status of all the stuff to which they have linked in their posts. I was a little surprised that the concept of “link rot” had not already saturated into the Twitter echo chamber. I figure if I have heard about it, and even thought about it, then surely others, especially those as well, and oft, connected as the Twitter set.

For those who missed it, the saga in short form goes something like this: Twitter posts are restricted to the 140 characters of SMS messages, which means lengthy URLs can consume a disproportionate amount of space with a message. Take, for example, the URL for this post:

DIY Short URLs

It’s 46 characters long, or roughly one-third of any message one posted. A number of URL shortening services have arisen to solve this problem: `tinyurl`, `bitly`, `tr.im` among them.

What happens when these services go away? For many, so will their links, and since much of the web’s meaning is written in links, a chunk of what the web is about will disappear as well. In the face of this problem — and also because who really wants to hand over their own mean-making to a third party who could later subvert the link? — a number of bloggers and developers of blogging apps have come up with their own URL shortening tools. [WordPress](http://wordpress.org/) is no exception. I have added `le petite url` plug-in to my own site’s infrastructure, which creates a unique, permanent, and self-hosted shortened URL for each post. If you are curious, the shortened URL for this post is:

http://johnlaudun.org/nhqbd