Twitter keep sneaking in new features – I think “reveal real link” as I am calling it is great. When you hover over a short link, a small window pops up and reveals the real underlying link. Very cool. I’m not sure when exactly it started, I noticed it earlier this week. If you’re not into how to use Twitter, feel free to skip to another post – there’s plenty more on my site. But for those who are active on Twitter, this is a neat new feature.
Many Twitter users (and many Twitter plugins) use shortened links to replace the full 200 character site and page title link with something like http://bit.ly/hu7j9o – to show a link to a blog post, article, image, video etc. in order to save some of our 140 characters and spaces. The problem has been – so do spammers, traffic bots (many of them have been getting more sophisticated) that’s made it harder to determine who’s real. So, in the past, there was no way to check if the link went to a real blog post or site, or to a spam link, sales pitch, MLM or something questionable in nature – unless you clicked the link.
Why is this reveal helpful?
Now you can hover over the link, and see where it goes. Eventually, spammy traffic sites, might try to use more legit names, but at least for the moment it is very helpful. Also I can see if the link if from a site I know and like and trust – perhaps from one of my favorite bloggers. In which case, if I trust the source, but don’t have time to read the post, but know that it’s likely to be good content, I can retweet it for my followers and read it later, when I have more time. ( I try to read most of the links I retweet, but not always – there I admitted it).
It is also helpful for identifying those Spammy Twitter users or sites that mix a few real tweets & tips, but all of their links go to a spammy, traffic generation, get more twitter followers fast. MLM essentially crap link. This can be really helpful in deciding whether or not to follow someone. If I see a junk link, attached to what SEEMED like a legit tweet, I’ll click on the person’s username – and check their profile real quickly. If I see a ratio of 500 tweets, following either 10 or 999, and 3 followers and no lists – and most tweets look like junk – then I take a moment & click the down arrow & select report for spam/block – so they can’t follow me. & Twitter will investigate and delete/suspend the account more quickly. But not all bad links are the fault of the person who tweets it.
Not all bad links are on purpose
Some folks have fallen for a spam tweet and had their accounts hacked, so that they automatically send out this tweet mixed in with other tweets. Some people may have retweeted what SEEMS like (or what they thought) was a good link. The headline of the post was interesting, but they didn’t take the time to click the link & read the “post” – and not realize that the post title “Travel Activity among Seniors up this Valentine’s Day” actually takes you to a URL selling a diet pill or a twitter auto traffic building site. Don’t report these folks for spam – if the rest of their tweets look clean, and they have an average twitter following – they may just be newer to twitter – if you’re nice, you’ll let them know the link the RTed was bad, or to check & make sure they didn’t get hacked. 100 tweets, following 50, followed by 64, on 10 lists. That’s a bit more legit looking.
Let me know if I missed any other benefits of this “link reveal” feature, or some other consequence I missed.