I have been working with microblogs lately and the various tools they employ to get the job done. While Twitter, Laconica and Twhirl are my stand out favorites I have recently become enamored with URL shortening tools like Bit.ly. I really had no idea how much potential lay hidden within those scrunched up little URL’s until I read a piece in the New York Times titled ‘Mini-Links to Websites Are Multiplying‘ and a short while later I came across TechCrunch’s article on the URL shortening service Awe.sm. And, now, after tonight’s Twitter microrally that lasted all of 26 minutes and spanned nine countries including the US, UK, Italy, Israel, Tanzania, Senegal, Portugal and Switzerland I am convinced that these ‘microlinks’ are the next big thing.
Not only are they the next big thing (actually, they have been ‘the thing’ for quite some time as I am sure many of you would argue, i.e. tinyurl) but they are also inherently addictive. They are like handfuls of sunflower seeds, Peanut M&M’s, etc. Once you start you can’t stop and when a site like Awe.sm offers 10,000 URL creations for $8.50/month you being to wonder if that will be enough. Actually, it is not so much the quantity as it is the quality of the micropost that’s gets you ‘bounce’ during a microrally in addition to the words ‘Please ReTweet!’ that follow at the end of your plea. A microrally is really just a brief sprint in Twitterland that involves shrinking up a random URL, preferably linking to a site where some sort of reward (like stats) reside, and then pushing it out into the social stream where your Twitter minions either play ball and bounce your post by first clicking the microlink and then retweeting or they let it die not having looked at stats like these:
What you don’t see is that the bulk of these participants saw my Tweet, clicked the microlink and retweeted all within about 30 minutes of one another. My short message bounced to four continents in well under 30 minutes and all I said was:
I know, I know, a microrally sounds like something a guy sitting home with too much time on his hands would do (it is) but until you take a run at one and unabashedly pimp yourself to high hell you won’t understand what it means to watch your stats roll in parsed out to the minute. With Bit.ly you can actually watch your stats roll in minute by minute and immediately flip over and see which countries are helping you. It’s an incredible marketing tool for Twitter especially if you first want to see who is online and if they’re listening. You certainly wouldn’t want to launch a microrally if it is 3am in the States where I believe most of my audience comes from. It’s evening here so I had a good collection of US supporters but I was also very nicely surprised to see folks from Tanzania, Senegal and Israel joining in!
Go ahead, give it a try. You just might like it. I’d love to pimp it one time to a celebrity Twitterer like @aplusk and watch as the stats shot through the roof. Maybe a humanitarian fundraiser rally where you line up participants and then get a donor to match the stats? What do you think? Should we give it a try? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
Be sure to follow me on Twitter so that you can help out next time around! @aidworkerdaily