Stories sell on social media

If there were ever any doubt that telling stories can help build communities, markets, and supporters, here is an article that makes it clear. This is a very sad story of a girl suddenly dying of a mysterious disease, played out fully on Twitter. Beyond the obvious tragedy, what I find compelling here is that this story spread so quickly, to places that no one could ever predict at the outset.

Stories–even 140 character ones–reach into people and have them respond and remember. If the story had been framed in white counts and viral loads, it might have had some people respond. But, as the human story it was, it pulls at all of our heart strings and connects the readers to each other and to the source of the story.

I feel deeply for these poor parents and continue to be awed at the power that simple stories have to move people and reach into our souls.

Compressing a Long URL

Sometimes, when hand coding HTML isn’t an option, inserting a hyperlink can be a pain. This is especially true when the URL is over 30 characters long.

While updating my status on Twitter, it became apparent that I needed to find a solution. Some users claimed inserting an <a href=”url”></a> tag would do it — it didn’t for me. Others said Twitter would also compress the long URL for you — no such luck. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.

Twitter Help didn’t give me any answers so I went off-site and found This free service will compress any URL you give it into a short URL (ie. You can also customize it (ie. Stanford course on developing iPhone software).

Similar services are available here: