One from many

The #NOHTTP Experiment



Preface
The BBC Digital Revolution production is quite interesting I must say. A person I listen to, Tom Foremski initially was a little sceptical about the idea of an open source programme. I must admit a short while after I encountered Aleks Krotoski (aleksk) on tweetdeck’s recommended and I have to say, she is looking at and thinking about some interesting stuff.

That got me to BBC Digital Revolution production and full circle back to Dan Biddle who Tom had corresponded with. Having watched and participated in the process a little now, I must admit I do not in this instance agree with Tom’s original suspicions that it was a marketing gimmick.

I have to say that this is down to the team interacting with people on the blog. And there are indeed a few interesting people on there. The team has done as good a job as one could expect in this endeavour, indeed it is kind of a first, for a large mainstream production organisation. I think that they are doing an OK job, but the proof will be in the pudding. However the undertaking is interesting enough to have value in itself. What it produces at the end of the day is important as it will be consumed by many people and present them with a framework in which to believe.

They have asked for ideas for experiments on the web, however just sucking those out of thin air can be quite difficult. I have come across quite a few things in the past few days that have given me an idea. It is a small idea, but the idea came from another small idea, sometimes that is the way things happen.

Introduction

#NOHTTP – a twitter hashtag
bit.ly – a URL shortener service used on twitter as it is the shortest URL service – 6 characters
tiny.url – the original URL shortening service – 8 characters
j.mp – bit.ly’s new service domain – 4 characters
twitter – a 140 character microblogging service
http:// - the standard prefix to a URI – Internet web address

Experiment

So basically on Friday (4th Sept) I came across a headline in mashable’s rss feed that bit.ly had just launched it’s new domain for the service on j.mp saving tweeters 2 chars

About 30 minutes ago it occurred to me that if twitter used some simple parsing they could strip out http:// from all URL shortener domains. It would not be difficult. On page generation just create a normal A HREF link, with no http:// displayed.

Now whether Biz Stone and the crew think that the microblog should be limited to 140 characters or not is important, because it is their number (actually SMS limit, thanks for the reminder Dan). However they seem to have hit a magic number that just works with 140 characters. So this would be a way to bend that rule, not break it. bit.ly just gave us another 2 characters with j.mp and twitter stripping the http:// would give users 7 more characters. Yes 7 in one simple step :)

It’s a simple idea I know. I went to twitter to suggest it but could not find “make a suggestion”. There is a community site that they monitor, but I will do that a little later. For now perhaps that would make a good little techie Internet experiment.

A simple idea, here is the hashtag #NOHTTP

Maybe it would be possible to seed an idea using a hashtag…

I have a quid that says it gets nowhere ;)

However, first Firefox dropped the need for http:// and then IE followed suit… there is a precedence… so who knows.

However that may impact all twitter app providers as well… hmmm. A very small idea could result in a mountain of work. However, we are generally backwards compatible so maybe it will be a small race.

Now for a sanity check? Is it quite simple? Is it is possible?… Yes I think so.

And post…..

Update: how about just making it a single capital L (or any character) as a link to the short url e.g. the perfect URL shortener L. The concept would work with 2 or 3 characters, but why not just one L

Result = 1 char

Creative Commons License

savings make sense

Found this thanks to @BBCDigRev tweet. I come from the 'small is beautiful' school of design so any code shortening to give more characters for expression is good. great thinking #NOHTTP

Hahaha the reCaptcha test words to post this were so apposite!

Yip

As they say.. every little helps

As for your twitter usernane well is that included in you post, I am not sure? But you are not going to change your twitter brand :)

Cool idea...

I like it. Every character counts especially with hashtags. I could change my name and save even more... :)