This is a short guide on how to get started with vo.la - the Korean URL Shortener Service.
A Quick Intro
When I came across this service, it was called 'Shortnv', but now vo.la . It's initial focus was to provide users with an easy way to shorten long URLs while still maintaining some degree of readability. They achieved that by allowing you to choose your own custom characters for your shortened URLs (2-12 characters). Once the corresponding character combinations were added into the registry , it became possible use these free URL Shorteners in Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. However, since its start in 2009 there has been many improvements made on this service. You can check out their site for more details .
If you want to know more about URL shorteners and why they're sometimes bad for your back, I recommend watching this talk by @jesse_ellis : The Long URL of It .
Starting Out: What You Need
Before we get started there are a few things needed. First and foremost, you need a Twitter account. Secondly, you need an official Twitter client installed on one of your devices (a smartphone is fine). And thirdly - and even more importantly – you need to be somewhat literate in Korean. vo.la doesn't just allow anyone to create new accounts or shorten URLs as the first page will tell you:
This screen shot shows that those who wish to join must have either a Korean mobile number or a Korean resident registration number. And that's it . You can sign up with either one of those options by clicking on the red button in the middle or at the bottom of this page , or you can go right ahead to the registration form, but make sure you have either one of them before you leave this page .
The Registration Form is pretty standard fare if you ever had any experience in filling out forms in Korea, especially for social media sites. Don't forget your password! Yes, I've done that when I first started out with Twitter here, and it wasn't fun when I couldn't remember what my original password was. The captcha is also required since vo.la wants to prevent bots from joining their site. Once you have filled in all the details, click on the red button at the bottom of the form to register.
Success! Your account is now created and activated . You can login with either your Twitter Username or Password , but I suggest using your Twitter Password . Since vo.la has an option for OTP (One Time Password), it's up to you whether you want to use this feature or not.
Once logged in, vo.la will present you with three options: Create an account, Login with Twitter and Submit a Link . It should look like this:
Creating An Account
Creating an account is almost exactly like registering one except that you don't need to fill out the captcha since you're already logged into vo.la . Just fill in the username, password and mobile number/Korean resident registration number fields. Click on the red button to create your account.
Login with Twitter
If you logged into vo.la with your Twitter account, then this is pretty straightforward . You have two options: Login with Twitter or Create New Account . If you clicked on Login with Twitter , vo.la will present a pop-up window asking for permission to use your account in order to sign in to their service. Once you allow it, vo.la will log you in and return you back to their site where you can now submit a link using that Twitter account . Please note, if by chance my previous post was too hard for some of you, they do have an English version of their site .
If you clicked on Create New Account , vo.la will ask you if you want to create a new Twitter account or if you'd rather use your own. If you choose to make a new one, vo.la will redirect back to the registration form and allow you to fill it out again along with a captcha . After that, vo.la will ask for permission from Twitter to access your account before presenting this screen:
It's pretty straightforward from here, but I'll go through all of it just in case there is any confusion later on. In the Username field, enter your desired username without @ symbol since that won't be shown later on when people click on your shortened URL. In Password field, enter your password for this new Twitter account. In Verification Code field, enter the code from the Twitter SMS verification sent to your mobile number/Korean resident registration number (whichever you used when you registered your vo.la account). Once done, click on the red button to continue and voila! Your new Twitter account is now created and activated . Finally, we're ready to submit a link .
Submitting A Link
Once you're logged in, all that's left to do is send out a tweet with a special hashtag: #vo_la which will then take up your original tweet and add a shortened URL after it. For example:
It should look something like this:
Have fun giving it a go yourself! Just remember to use your shortened URLs responsibly since they are public.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post, I hope you found it informative. For any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me via Twitter . You can also check out KORNET which is a service similar to vo.la . They have an English version too! If you would like to contribute your words in Korean, please contact me for more information on how you can do so here . Cheers!
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