uTag – gaming the link economy

September 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Online, Other blogs, SMO, Technology

uTag logoI’ve been using a URL shortening service on my site called uTag since it was launched a few weeks ago.

UPDATE: I have removed the uTag script that automatically changed my URLs. And for brevity, the technical issues with uTag that I address in this post are:

  1. If the ad banner is left open after visiting a site, the user continues surfing to other websites, and later closes the ad banner, the browser will automatically refresh to the page first visited by following the uTag link.
  2. In the same vein, once the ad banner is closed, using the Back button will simply reload the banner frame, rather than going back to the linking site.
  3. A uTag Death Loop exists, whereby a uTag link to another uTag enabled site will result in an increasing number of ad banners stacked on top of each other. Read below for how this happens.

Put simply, uTag is a monetisation strategy for linking. Several sites already provide link shortening services which have become popular chiefly amongst Twitter users, who need a short link because their posts have a 140 character limit. Examples are bit.ly, is.gd, tinyurl.com, to name just a few. The difference with uT.ag is that it aims to pay people for providing those outbound links. Read more

HOW TO: Get reporters out into the community

July 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Delicious, Journalists, Mobile

Mr. Pagination GuyImage by Bill on Capitol Hill via Flickr

  • “we MUST understand and then embrace the notion that print is no longer our primary focus.
    ..reporters chained to desks working with large desktop computers..so last century..Transition them to laptops..get them out of the newsroom and into the community”
  • How important is comprehensible data presentation to new journalism?
    “visualisation is a way to turn usually a lot of numbers into images, so you can look at all the data that you have at the same time and try to see patterns – or interesting trends…”

Originally from my auto-posting daily Delicious links, I have cut this back to just a few links I have added comment to and that I think particularly useful. I have also retitled the post. This is in preparation for a blog redesign, where I no longer want posts titled “links for YYYY-MM-DD”. A live stream of Delicious links will also always be available in a sidebar widget and/or stand-alone page.

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Creating a Google storm map

February 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Social Networking

googlemapThe Spokesman Review is doing some cool things with Google Maps.

User generated content is populating a map, so that individual stories are tied to a particular location using plain text, images and video.

This could be compared to Every Block, but for breaking news/continuing stories on a particular event, rather than data.

The potential for storm stories, either by user submitted photos, or using information as it comes in from police, makes it a great tool for 1) rolling updates of affected areas and, 2) a continuing story of what people are experiencing on the ground.

And they’re sending it in to you, talking about it, interacting with it.

Often we may write, “The Smith, Jones, and Harry street bridges in Doe Shire have been washed away by flood waters,” but people could have no idea where those are.

In some instances online sites have been giving a link to a Google map of a street location mentioned in a crime story, for instance.

Expand that to include multiple locations and you have big-picture view, that everyone can see.

Spokesmanreview.com: Storm Stories

Colin Mulvaney works at the Spokesman Review, and for more pearls of online wisdom, see his blog, Mastering Multimedia.