Tag Archives: chirp

Is a URL Shortener Really What Twitter Needed?

Twitter’s Chirp conference closed out today with the news that the company will soon roll out it’s official URL shortener. CEO Evan Williams noted that it would be “stupid” not to add native link-shortening capabilities into Twitter, since most Twitter clients already have that feature. “Everyone else has solved that problem. We are probably not going to give people a choice. If they want to use a different shortener, they can use a different app.”

In the weeks leading up to Chirp, people all over the world were seen asking for various new features on the popular microblogging site. Not once did I see anyone think that they needed yet another link shortener. I understand the new TwittAD feature. I’m loving the enhanced search capabilities. I enjoy coming up with new ways to find interesting people to follow. I’m even already digging the new front page design.

What I DON’T get, though, is why the heck we need yet another way to make our links smaller. Users want more apps. They want to easier ways to show off photos and videos. They want to come up with better ways to network and connect. These are the things, in my mind, that the Twitter team should be focusing on. It’s all about what the needs of your community are, guys.

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We had some excellent little discussions going on over at the Facebook fan page today. Did you miss out on any of them?

Should You Share Your Location on Twitter and Facebook?

It was announced today that Facebook users will begin seeing a new kind of status update in their news feed: the current locations of people on their friends list. Additionally, Twitter users can now tag their location in their tweets, a feature that will even bring up a map to pin-point exact locations.

Meredith Chin, a Facebook spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the company wasn’t ready to discuss any possible location-based features. However, according to sources who claim to know about the project, the new location feature will have two parts to it. One will be a service offered directly by Facebook that will allow users to share their location information with friends. The other will be a set of software tools that outside developers can use to offer their own location-based services to Facebook users in the form of Apps.

On Twitter, there will be a location placemarker next to any tweet tagged with a location. If you hover your mouse over that placemarker, it turns blue. Clicking on it will bring up a tiny Google map that shows the exact location the tweet was sent from. You can see these maps as overlays both on individual tweet pages, and on tweets in your main stream. The service was active on the site earlier today, but looks as though it has been disabled as of the writing of this post. I imagine we’ll see it back very quickly.

Location services and tags seem to be the hot new thing. Every company – and their dog! – is pushing hard to get some type of location-based service added to their application prior to the SXSW conference. However… is this REALLY a good idea?

In the case of a celebrity, is it a good idea to let an over-zealous fan know where you’re having a coffee or manicure? If you’re on vacation, do you really want thieves to know that? What about people who may have a restraining order against a violent person? Letting them know where you are over Twitter may not seem like such a hot idea when they show up there to see you.

I can think of a ton of reasons why it’s a crazy idea to constantly share your location with others. However, I can’t honestly think of any solid reasons why it would be a great idea to do so. Am I missing something? Sure, it may be fun… and it may be the newest trend. But is it actually a smart idea?