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A URL Shortener for the Rest of Us.
July 13, 2010 8:47 AM   Subscribe

URL shortening service for twitter. "Senior citizens are the fastest-growing user group for twitter probably. And they don't have time to decipher most URL shorteners. The average senior citizen probably assumes 'bit.ly' is the URL for a Lithuanian overbite clinic; 'tr.im' looks like the homepage of an Islamic transportation consultancy. On the other hand, 'urlshorteningservicefortwitter.com' lays it all out on the table!"

From David Rees of Get Your War On, My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable, My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, Adventures of Confessions of Saint Augustine Bear and RELATIONSHAPES.
posted by eccnineten (59 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
OK. Am I missing on a joke that doesn't accept any of the captchas I enter?
posted by ORthey at 8:50 AM on July 13, 2010


You mean http://5z8.info/bomb-plans_v5c5b_hackwebcam?
posted by demiurge at 8:52 AM on July 13, 2010


i am downright confused
posted by DZack at 8:52 AM on July 13, 2010


'tr.im' looks like the homepage of an Islamic transportation consultancy

'tr.im' looks like a pubic-hair chat room
posted by mrgrimm at 8:56 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The average senior citizen probably assumes 'bit.ly' is the URL for a Lithuanian overbite clinic; 'tr.im' looks like the homepage of an Islamic transportation consultancy.

This seriously overestimates the internet literacy of the average senior citizen.
posted by General Tonic at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


This URL has been rejected to prevent the universe from collapsing on itself
posted by mrgrimm at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, it's http://gianturl.com/ (previously) but with increased relevance because of the cutting-edge twitter tie-in and the GYWO guy, and a broken captcha system?
posted by 7segment at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2010


This is stupid.
posted by Perplexity at 8:58 AM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you're going to make a shorter URL, shouldn't you use a shorter domain? (Yeah, I get the joke.) Ha.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:59 AM on July 13, 2010


At first I thought, this is only of interest to people who use twitter. But then I read the comments here.

This isn't even of interest to people who care about twitter.
posted by Eideteker at 9:05 AM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


The joke does not go far enough. Most people do not know what URLs are, but "web address" will suffice. Twitter? Come now. If the joke is about senior citizens, we're talking email. And, finally, for readability ...

I present to you web-address-shortener-for-your-chain-emails.com.
posted by adipocere at 9:08 AM on July 13, 2010


I like that it looks straight out of Drudge Report to appeal more to the old people audience.
posted by qvantamon at 9:16 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem isn't just with URL shorteners. The web won't truly be accessible to seniors until it has a voice interface that accepts "Jenny? Can you please connect me through to the Google? Thank you dear."
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:16 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


This seriously overestimates the internet literacy of the average senior citizen.

Yes, and the given URLs are actually quite long and descriptive, and thus not useful for shortening things.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:20 AM on July 13, 2010


I'll take this opportunity to complain that URL shortening poisons twitter for me: I loathe the fact that every link becomes mystery meat.

Also the fact that I can't backtrack to see the conversation when people @reply to someone I'm not following; it's like listening to half of a cellphone conversation.

And don't even get me started on that fucking arbitrary 140 character limit.

I tried. I really really tried to like twitter. I just do. not. get. it.


posted by ook at 9:24 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's funny because old people are dumb.
posted by Nelson at 9:26 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let's see.. Let's replace "senior citizen" with "black person" or "woman" or "disabled person" or "christian" or "gay" or "nerd", or..... get my drift...?
posted by HuronBob at 9:29 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Old people aren't dumb, but human beings as a rule have trouble adjusting to great changes in technology after decades of doing things the old way. I have no doubt I'll have the same problem when everybody plugs into ConsciousNet in fifty years. Honestly though, I'm envious of many seniors' smarts, because they learned how to do things on paper before we had fancy computers to figure it out for us. Those who haven't gone senile or contracted Alzheimer's aren't usually dumb, just stubborn when it comes to the internet.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2010


Senior citizens are the fastest growing twitter demographic? Really?

I mean, really?
posted by MattMangels at 9:39 AM on July 13, 2010


We could shorten all URLs if we could just get a numbering system in base one billion.

http://2927930426
posted by blue_beetle at 9:40 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's see.. Let's replace "senior citizen" with "black person" or "woman" or "disabled person" or "christian" or "gay" or "nerd", or..... get my drift...?

Yes. We'll say it more quietly, at least until their hearing aids run out of juice.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:41 AM on July 13, 2010


Most people don't even understand the protocol://subdomain.domain.tla/subdirectory structure, so...
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:47 AM on July 13, 2010


this joke is older than the people that ceo david rees and cto/cfo paul charles leddy fail at making fun of.
posted by the aloha at 9:47 AM on July 13, 2010


That was funny for almost a second.
posted by HumanComplex at 9:49 AM on July 13, 2010


Senior citizens are the fastest growing twitter demographic? Really?

I mean, really?


Do you realize that the whole thing is a joke? You know, given that the URL shortener doesn't actually shorten very well?

Anyway, I fully admit that I have reached the age where I can't follow technology/software trends anymore. I am 26, and new things confuse and frighten me. My spousal unit is on a trip this week, and I my only solution for getting our Ubuntu media center to function correctly is to keep resetting it until any problem is magically fixed (So far, mysteriously, this has worked pretty well). Surely that's not a good sign.
posted by muddgirl at 9:53 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem isn't just with URL shorteners. The web won't truly be accessible to seniors until it has a voice interface that accepts "Jenny? Can you please connect me through to the Google? Thank you dear."

"I remember when the Internets had dials instead of buttons. And the tubes were copper, not cheap plastic."
posted by grubi at 9:53 AM on July 13, 2010


Needs moar PointyURL: http://⇘⥲.⇒.ws.
posted by scruss at 9:55 AM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I tried. I really really tried to like twitter. I just do. not. get. it.

You're trying too hard. Let it come to you.
posted by grubi at 9:55 AM on July 13, 2010


I imagine many of you also think Rees's artisanal pencil sharpening service has a shaky business model.

I think he's consistently hilarious.
posted by activitystory at 9:56 AM on July 13, 2010


I wonder how much google juice Libya has under their thumb right now, just because of this bit.ly nonsense.
posted by mhoye at 9:57 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


i came in here to say i'm not a senior citizen but i'm also not a spring chicken and FUCK YOU! if you think old = stupid but then i saw it was david rees who i love & adore (and who was a really nice guy the one time i met him) so i'll just say well, it ain't gywo but there's a bunch of stuff of his i haven't seen for a while so THANKS DAVID! and thanks, eccnineten, for pointing me there.

and just fyi, i gave a gywo t-shirt & book to aiden & malcolm of the now defunct arab strap & they gave me a copy of every cd they've ever made, or at least a copy of every cd they ever made that they had on hand at the time. so, yeah ... THANKS DAVID!
posted by msconduct at 10:02 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Senior citizens are the fastest growing twitter demographic? Really?"

Not entirely implausible when you consider that growth rates can be high with just a few additional members of a group when the number of members of the group was quite low originally.
posted by Jahaza at 10:03 AM on July 13, 2010


Google juice is quickly becoming worthless.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:03 AM on July 13, 2010


I'm still sad that TweetDeck doesn't support ShadyURL.
posted by brundlefly at 10:04 AM on July 13, 2010


I tried to shorten www.google.com and it said:

This URL has been rejected to prevent the universe from collapsing on itself.
posted by no_moniker at 10:05 AM on July 13, 2010


Let's see.. Let's replace "senior citizen" with "black person" or "woman" or "disabled person" or "christian" or "gay" or "nerd", or..... get my drift...?

No, not really. I imagine those groups are, in general, as likely to understand how URL shorteners work as the general population is (nerds more so, actually). On the other hand, I'd bet that if we conducted a general survey of the population in regard to how URL shortening services work, senior citizens would perform considerably worse than the average person. That's not a negative judgment of seniors; it's simply the most likely outcome. So, replacing "senior citizen" with any of the groups you mentioned doesn't really make any sense.
posted by maqsarian at 10:05 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The ridiculous thing here is not a URL shortener with a long name. The ridiculous thing here is that these even need to exist, especially targeted at a website that takes a client-side restriction on string length and applies it to the universe.
posted by DU at 10:14 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sadly, mysterymeat.com (and .net, .org, .us, .me and .info) is already taken. (But .tv and .biz are available!)
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:36 AM on July 13, 2010


I don't understand this. I am old person. But most of the mail I get wants to make things longer for me not shorter...is it better to be shorter?
posted by Postroad at 10:42 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The stereotype that seniors don't know how to use the internet is increasingly outdated. According to Pew, "While just over one-fourth (26%) of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005, 45% of that age group is currently online [as of 2009]."

Anecdotally, my grandmother didn't have any trouble signing up for Facebook a year or two ago. She had a little trouble deleting her account when she learned about the privacy problems on that site, but (a) deleting your Facebook account is difficult for everyone and (b) she didn't have any trouble understanding the privacy implications once they were pointed out.
posted by twirlip at 10:48 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a joke. Like shadyurl, hugeurl, reallyhugeurl, and so on. The funny part is that it doesn't make it shorter.

Carry on.
posted by cj_ at 10:50 AM on July 13, 2010


Actually one of the first popular URL shorterners was makeashorterlink.com.
posted by delmoi at 11:09 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Get off my lawn URL.
posted by blucevalo at 11:17 AM on July 13, 2010


The YMCA has officially shortened its name to "Y." But the Village People will not change the song to reflect this change
http://www.newser.com/story/95434/village-people-were-not-changing-ymca.html
posted by Postroad at 11:39 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kidding aside, I have used shorteners and posted them ...some people tell me they do not work because the firewall fears a re-direct, yet in emails they work for the same people, and for many the shorter URL does work. Is there a shortener that works always despite firewalls?
posted by Postroad at 11:42 AM on July 13, 2010


Most people don't even understand the protocol://subdomain.domain.tla/subdirectory structure, so...

That's an interesting assertion. Can you mail some more information to http://www.qvantamon@gmail.com?
posted by qvantamon at 11:51 AM on July 13, 2010


I liked the Metamucil ad in the "links we like" column. Because old people have bowel problems, you see. Man, that's a joke I haven't seen used repeatedly since The Carol Burnett Show.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2010


From David Rees of...

You forgot David Rees of Friday Face Offs.

Wait, is it possible no one has done a FPP on Friday Face Offs? Can I please do a FPP on Friday Face Offs? First I'd need about a dozen antonyms for "snark".
posted by straight at 12:41 PM on July 13, 2010


We chide elderly people for the bad malware and scam heuristics, but we don't make it easier for them with domains that don't end in .com. I wouldn't use an international domain not ending in .net, .com or .org without an intermediate user demographic in mind.

Twitter is implementing its own shortening service soon, so it won't be too much of a matter eventually. Except for the fact that I bought a short URL domain *days* before their announcement.

If I recall correctly, Twitter's short URL will be quite long. So everything comes full circle.
posted by blook at 12:51 PM on July 13, 2010


At its best, yes. At its less best, it's still totally awesome.

Some of the FFOs are awful, some are fantastic, most involve one of the performers doing something Rees finds hilarious for some reason.

Irregardlessly, do not miss the Shawn Michaels AKA the Heartbreak Kid, AKA AKA YOU MIGHT KNOW HIM AS AKA HBK!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on July 13, 2010


"'tr.im' looks like the homepage of an Islamic transportation consultancy."

I think you overlook the fact that "trim" has quite a different meaning to most of today's seniors.
posted by Twang at 2:56 PM on July 13, 2010


We chide elderly people for the bad malware and scam heuristics, but we don't make it easier for them with domains that don't end in .com.

Tech support duder here. 90% of old people think that all urls begin in www. and end in .com. You haven't been angry until the tenth URL in a row that you've told a person to type in has had www. prepended and .com appended even though you have, nine times in a row, told them not to fucking do that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:26 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


In defense of old people:
I will be 81 next month. I have had a blog for some 7 years. I get 25 thousand hits a day. I like com.net.org.edu, and gov.-- and lots of trim. the nice thing about being old? you don't have to worry about a site or pic that is marked NSFW since we have no job to lose.
posted by Postroad at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Postroad: so we can stay on your lawn?
posted by chavenet at 3:55 AM on July 14, 2010


Let's see.. Let's replace "senior citizen" with "black person" or "woman" or "disabled person" or "christian" or "gay" or "nerd", or..... get my drift...?

[...] I'd bet that if we conducted a general survey of the population in regard to how URL shortening services work, senior citizens would perform considerably worse than the average person. That's not a negative judgment of seniors; it's simply the most likely outcome. So, replacing "senior citizen" with any of the groups you mentioned doesn't really make any sense.


I think the other difference is that most of us will become senior citizens if only we live long enough, and, in doing so, many of us will indeed lose the bulk of our mental faculties. I don't see the site linked in the OP as "ageist" or any other "ism" so much as a variety of whistling past the graveyard, as the uncomfortable truth is that in many ways the best we can hope for is to join this befuddled, confused demographic before we shuffle off our mortal coils.
posted by kcds at 8:50 AM on July 14, 2010


I will be 81 next month.

Whoa, so you were alive in the 20th century?

that was funnier the first time I made it, in 2001
posted by DU at 9:05 AM on July 14, 2010


ook: "And don't even get me started on that fucking arbitrary 140 character limit."

It's not arbitrary, it's the maximum length of an SMS message.
posted by rhizome at 3:30 PM on July 14, 2010


It's not arbitrary, it's the maximum length of an SMS message.

Why is something mainly used from desktop computers limited by what an SMS message can hold? If your client has limitations, deal.
posted by DU at 5:04 PM on July 14, 2010


Yes yes. And I get that enforced brevity is the whole point of Twitter. I really did try to like the damn thing -- I hoped it would be my escape route from Facebook (which I was really treating as a twitter feed anyway. An ugly, lumbering, garbage-encrusted twitter feed.)

Harrumph, I say. Harrumph.
posted by ook at 5:50 AM on July 15, 2010


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