My friend and colleague Rod wonders if anybody uses tinyurl.  I
blogged
about tinyurl some time ago
and my immediate reaction to Rod’s question was "I use it all the time". 
Then I thought a little bit more and it occurred to me that I used to use it all
the time, but I have dramatically reduced the amount of tinyurl’s I send in my emails.

Why?

Simply because I use "real links" in emails now.

I don’t know about you, but while 99% of the emails I receive are in HTML,
very few use even the most basic features of HTML (bold, italics, color) and
much less HREF’s.  When someone wants me to take a look at a certain link, the email
typically looks like this:

From:  Friend of Cedric
To: Cedric
Subject:  Cool tool!

Hey Ced, check out this tool, it really helps speed up EJB development: 
http://beust.com/ejbgen

A few months ago, I noticed this and wondered how come nobody bothers to use
real links in their emails?  After all, it’s not like senders are not
familiar with HTML and they certainly know how to insert an href in a text, regardless
of the tool they use.  So why don’t we see more emails such as:

From:  Friend of Cedric
To: Cedric
Subject:  Cool tool!

Hey Ced, check out this tool, it really
helps speed up EJB development.

It is trivial to insert a link with Mozilla (Ctrl-L) and Outlook (Ctrl-K,
same as FrontPage), so why don’t people use this feature more?  Once you
start using links in your emails, the need for tinyurl is greatly
reduced.  I still use tinyurl for my Yahoo Messenger status, though.

How about yourself?  Do you use real links in your emails?  When
you compose an email, do you bother adding some formatting such as color or
bulleted lists to make your message easier to read?

How
about email you receive?