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shorten those URLs, please

It’s so handy the way blogging software just creates a unique URL for you. You don’t have to lift a finger! But I’m here with a plea to all bloggers to take a moment, when you post, to create shorter URLs.

I’m prompted to make this plea because at the moment I’m working on the Short List for the Horizon Report: 2009 Australia-New Zealand Edition. The Short List has a formula. It contains 12 topics — four on each horizon — and each topic is one page long. That one page has to include a description of what the topic is, why it’s relevant for education, examples of projects or programs that use it, and two or three sources of additional information. And it’s ONE PAGE. (Hence the name, Short List.)

I’d really like to include this review of JOYity, a location-based game for Android phones, in the examples list for the topic I’m working on right now. Since the Short List is distributed and used in all kinds of ways, I can’t rely on an embedded link — I need to state it explicitly. But I have about two lines per example, which is barely enough to describe whatever it is AND include the link. So it’s really frustrating to get a URL like this:

Go read the article, it’s great. The game looks really cool. I just need to find a way to shoehorn that ugly URL into half a line. I tried using a URL shortener on a previous Short List, but it didn’t fly; we like to see the source (the “TechCrunch” in the URL is actually important). If only the URL had been shortened when the post was made. Alas!

Please, take just a second and chop the extra nine words off your long URLs. Please. Maybe you’ll make it into the Horizon Report!

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