Twitter: 301 Redirect Explained [ILLUSTRATION]

The Internet has seen the rebirth of URL shorteners such as bit.ly and is.gd, thanks in large part to Twitter’s popularity.  The most widely used URL shorteners use 301 Redirect, “which allows websites to move transparently between different domains while still using a common web address, allowing the website to preserve its search engine ranking”.

Even for a person like myself who transitioned easily between older and newer versions of Web x.0, the definition of “301 Redirect” seems planted in Web 1.0, at a time when people made personal websites on hosts such as Angelfire or the defunct GeoCities (remember those?).  Twitter has given new life to URL shorteners but in some ways, modified peoples’ understanding of what 301 Redirect actually does.  The heady definition I provided probably requires simplification to reflect current usage.

If you can’t wait for industry leaders to simplify the definition, however, I hope this crude drawing shows how 301 Redirect would work, namely, between the tweets on Guy Kawasaki’s Twitter account (@GuyKawasaki) and his news website, Alltop.  Notice that, despite using four different URL shorteners for the same article, all four “lanes” of the “@GuyKawasaki Highway” merge into one street, Holy Kaw! Boulevard”,  the section on his website where we would find the article.

If the definition of 301 Redirect seems dated, this illustration showing the links between the tweets on Guy Kawasaki's Twitter account and his news website, Alltop, should help.

The Symbiotic Relationship between Guy Kawasaki, Twitter, Alltop, and 301 Redirect

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Francis M. Unson
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