Bitly and TinyURL are popular URL shortening tools for good reason. Registered users can create shortened URLs that people can actually spell to use in place of unwieldly URLs. I often use Bitly to shorten the links to my Google Slides and Canva slides presentations.
Unfortunately, not all Bitly and TinyURL users are using those tools for good reasons. Some people use them to hide nefarious links.
The “+” Trick
Fortunately, there is an easy way to quickly determine what’s behind a Bitly or TinyURL link without actually clicking on it. The trick is to simply add a “+” to the end of any Bitly or TinyURL address. When you add the “+” the URL will redirect to the Bitly or TinyURL page (respectively) on which the shortened URL is hosted and will show you what the original link was.
You can try this trick with a URL that I recently shortened. Bit.ly/THWTAPRIL will lead you directly to a copy of the slides that I used in my recent Intro to Teaching History With Technology webinar. Bit.ly/THWTAPRIL+ will lead you to the Bitly page where you can see my original presentation URL and see when I created the shortened URL.
If you want to try this with a TinyURL, tinyurl.com/emkns9a8 will lead you to the page for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp, but adding a “+” at the end of that TinyURL will take you to the page where you can see the original link without clicking on it.
Building Good Cyber Safety Skills
Building good digital citizenship and cyber safety skills is something that all of us should be helping our students do. Showing them little tips like this one to avoid clicking on suspicious links is one of the ways that we can help our students build their digital citizenship and cyber safety skills.
Live and On-demand Professional Development
- This summer I’m hosting the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. This is a series of live, interactive webinars. Learn more and register here.
- I also offer three self-paced, on-demand courses.