Spent some time working on 140pix

My apologies for neglecting this blog for more than a few days. I’ve been working on another side project, not related to journalism, but full of links and Twitter madness.

Quick summary: 140pix.com is a blog of galleries made from pictures that people have posted on Twitter. I’m starting off with a Southern California edition with the hope that I’ll have the time and inclination to create similar blogs for other locations and/or topics of interest.

Read more about 140pix, or just visit the site and poke around to see more silly pictures like these:

Silly pictures from 140pix.com

The ad unit that works in RSS feeds, no plugin or widget required

Sponsor message: Jsavers offers journalists their own WordPress blog for $5 a month.

No, this blog post is not really sponsored. But you sure did notice my fictional sponsor, didn’t you?

I’ve been kicking around the idea of simple, human-placed text ads that could appear at the top of any (textual) blog post or article. This kind of ad would travel wherever RSS readers were used.

The idea seems plausible, but I’m no expert in this field, so I have many questions that I hope you can help answer:

  • Why shouldn’t blog posts include hand-placed textual advertisements?
  • Can humans do a better job than Google at determining contextually relevant ads to serve?
  • Who would match the ad to the content? Editorial or advertising staff?
  • Are consumers more likely to read sponsored messages that aren’t shoved into the right-hand side of a site?
  • Would an ad unit like this require ad-serving software?
  • What tools would need to be built to facilitate the quick research that human-placement would require?
  • Would this change the way editorial and advertising staff work together?
  • Would a sponsor’s message appear as an article’s summary in search engine result pages?
  • If the answer to the previous question is yes, would that decrease the article’s chance of being clicked?
  • What are the SEO/SEM implications for the content publisher? For the advertiser?

If you want to read more about ads in RSS feeds, Problogger has a good page of RSS advertising options and WATblog has a post all about RSS advertising.

Not good: Over 2 million incoming links overnight

Over two million links suddenly pointed to my sOCial Sunday post on Jon Lansner’s blog yesterday morning when someone exploited a security hole in the free Cligs URL-shortening system.

So what’s the problem? For starters, Google could misinterpret this as a spam attack and penalize the blog.

Since the post was on Lansner’s blog, I will continue to follow the story there. For now, here is a roundup of early information:

Cligs Got Hacked – Restoration from Backup Started
How we got 2.2 million Internet links … temporarily!
Cligs short url service hacked, millions redirected
Popular URL shortener Cli.gs, hacked.
A Short Lesson in URL Hacking

Journalism TweetGrid updated, who should be added?

A while back, I created a TweetGrid to follow 50 journalists on one screen. Yesterday, that grid grew when I added 10 journalism students. Today, I’ve added 5 more users from your suggestions.

The updated grid can be found at http://cli.gs/jgrid. If you decide to tweet it, please  do not use another URL shortener (like tinyURL). That way your followers will always get the most recent version of the grid.

Please leave a comment below if you know of other Twitter users journalist should be following.

Related post: 3 ways to follow Twitter journalists without tweeting