A Scratch Bundle

It’s funny how things come together.  Last night, my university class was getting their first exposure to the Scratch programming language.  As I do weekly, I entered a few links to the class Wiki to some of the Scratch resources that I’ve accumulated and tucked away into my Delicious/Diigo accounts.  Then, out of the blue, my buddy @pmcash sent out a tweet sharing the resources that he had filed away to his Diigo account.  They’re great stuff and so I checked them out and added them to my account.

So, the next thing is – what’s the best way to share them.  I could copy each of the URLs and paste them as per normal.  But, they’re all based on the same concept.  No problem – the traditional way is to tag them with a particular work – oh, say “Scratch” and then create a link to the sharing site where all the resources thusly tagged would be displayed.  But, I’ve always been curious about the new bit.ly bundle feature so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot.  So, I did and I’m glad that I did.  Here’s what I did and why I’m glad that I did it!

First of all, you need a bit.ly account.  You may have used bit.ly by default with any of the web resources that you use to share without one.  However, when you create an account, you do get access to analytics which is a way to see if people are following your links.  More importantly for this though, you get the ability to make a bundle.  So, create an account and log in.

Right up front, you’ll be invited to create a bundle.

So, go for it.  In the subsequent screen, bit.ly invites you to add links to your bundle.  Copying and pasting the actual URL works really nicely!

It  is as simple as that.  Now, when you add the links, a bit of good magic happens.

Bit.ly reaches out to the URL that you’ve chosen and takes a snapshot of the resource and puts it right there in the bundle.  There are a couple of things that I really like about that.

First, it checks to make sure that the link that you’re providing is live!  What’s the point of creating a bundle with dead links?  Even more importantly is the information that it provides the end-user.  A bit.ly (or any type of URL shortener) could actually go anywhere.  That could be good or it could be bad depending upon the motives of the person creating the link.  Here, you get a preview of where you’re going.  This is a really good thing.

Continue the process of adding links to the bundle until you’re done.  Think of what you just did.  You created an amalgam of all of the links that you wanted to share and they’re all in one spot.

Better give it a meaningful name.  The default really doesn’t tell you much.

The blue button labelled “Share” gives you the inspiration for the next step.  But, that panel also provides more that just that.  Look at the count at any time to see how many people are enjoying your bundle, at any time grab the bit.ly link to your bundle, invite collaborators to your project or go ahead and share it with the world!  If you’ve tied a valid Twitter account to your bit.ly account the process is so easy.

It’s a few steps to get the job done but it’s a good few steps.  I like the concept of all the links in one spot and the preview inside before you click your way to a resource.  It’s always nice to know that you’re going to end up somewhere safe.

If you’re looking for  the bundle that I created for the Scratch resource, just click here.

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