“WTF? I can’t retweet that!”

Recently, via twitter, I discovered that our incoming University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere has set up a blog. Because our outgoing president hasn’t been the epitome of transparency, I think this is pretty exciting.

So I decided to retweet that to all my friends, just in case someone missed it. Here was the original message:

Incoming UO president Richard Lariviere’s got a blog — check out his latest dispatch: http://tinyurl.com/UOnewpre….

So I retweeted the message:

RT @UOregonNewsIncoming UO president Richard Lariviere’s got a blog: http://tinyurl.com/UOnewpre…

Copied and pasted exactly from the original tweet. I did forget to add a space between “UOregonNews” and “Incoming,” and I did delete the unnecessary “–check out his latest dispatch,”  but other than that I copied and pasted it directly from the original message.

There was only one difference: the link that they posted worked. The link that I copied and pasted didn’t.

For a tweeter such as UOregonNews, I think it’s important to make sure each tweet is retweetable and fully functional. But I’m pretty sure most tweeters, who would normally retweet things, would think it’s worth it to get the original URL from UOregonNews, go to a URL shortener (such as http://bit.ly), fix it and RT the whole thing.

So instead of adding a fancy custom TinyURL that is impossible to fit into a tweet, go with something short. For example, we know the tweet is coming from @UOregonNews, so is it necessary to add UOnewspress into a tinyurl?

Bottom line: Function over form.

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8 thoughts on ““WTF? I can’t retweet that!”

  1. Hi Bryan,
    I work in web communications at the University of Oregon, and I’m the one who tweeted about Richard Lariviere’s blog. Your thoughts about this are really good. Thanks for trying to re-tweet the link. Your point is well taken — any tweet by us should be easily re-tweetable. And we will keep that mind moving forward. The actual link for the blog entry is http://newpres.uoregon.edu/2009/05/12/pure-scholarship-one-of-greatest-pleasures-of-teaching-life/. Your troubles stem from the fact that twitter will hyperlink a tiny url even if the complete url would force the message over the 140 character limit. Keep in mind that the tiny url is not to be fancy — it is to significantly shorten the length of the url. It actually is, as you say, an attempt at function over form. Thanks again for trying to re-tweet. Next time, we’ll make sure you can do it.
    –Zack Barnett

  2. [Quote]Keep in mind that the tiny url is not to be fancy — it is to significantly shorten the length of the url.[/Quote]

    That’s true, but my point was that the custom TinyURL wasn’t necessary, and I think it caused part of the link to be cut off. I’m sure if you would have just went with something like http://tinyurl.com/onbs8z as opposed to http://tinyurl.com/UONewPresident, it probably wouldn’t have done that.

    I am sorry if the post seems harsh. I think you guys are doing good work, and I enjoy the tweets you guys send out.

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