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Tiny URL’s: More than Shrinking URL’s: Link Your Supplemental Articles at your Home Page to an Article Elsewhere

I’ve begun to use the service because you can shrink a long URL into something short and manageable. I’ve seen URL’s with over 170 characters go down to twenty-five or so!

I even had to turn my official website URL into a tiny URL because pasting some website’s log messed up the front page. Fortunately, I knew how to go down the middle of my McGraw-Hill website—Northeast Texas Virtual Library, formerly, and turn that Table of Contents into the new front of the academic website. I also have a religious website that’s smaller and I don’t publicize a lot.

Then I had an idea. Write an article then put it in my McGraw-Hill Pageout website. Copy the lengthy URL of the document and paste it at tinyurl. Check to see if it works. Then take that URL of the new document at my McGraw-Hill Pageout site, and use it in articles for citizen journalism websites.

For example, I wrote a two-page table of contents entitled, “Chapter Sections Published Elsewhere,” an alternative style of sample chapter for my Developmental English/Writing textbook. These twenty chapter sections were published as articles at various websites, such as Associated Content, Connexions (of Rice University) and Lesson Plans Page. All but the final entry can be found in the 8th edition. The last one, “Veterans Interest Unit” shows illustrations from Flickr, the photo-sharing branch of yahoo.

I mentioned my textbook’s sample chapter with the tinyurl for an article I wrote for the local ABC affiliate’s citizen journalism about the East Texas State Fair.

How is that relevant, anyone would ask? First of all, Sample Tuesday was a day when treats such as funnel cakes were selling for $2 instead of $6. So I wore an index card clipped to my shirt pocket with the advertisement, “Chapter Sections Published Elsewhere” and the tinyurl where you could read it. Eventually the card moved to my jeans pocket. Meanwhile I tended to my duties at the toy tent.

I wrote a short editorial (intended to be heartwarming) about my thoughts sitting in a tent full of cartoon balloon toys that I sent to Associated Content, now a branch of yahoo. The link to the little article at the big website from the long article at the small website became a supporting detail and visa-versa. This time I felt that keeping the original long URL’s was preferable.

This self-marketing technique becomes quite portable. Now you can find this “Elsewhere” tinyurl at Facebook and Linked-In as I seek textbook publishers. Look at this procedure as an option to attaching documents, which is not always possible.

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10 2011

Site Spotlight: at the Dallas Morning News–Evolution in Citizen Journalism

This post was written by new Texas-based OMNI curator JD Meyer (bohemiotx). is a citizen journalism/user-generated content website moderated by the Dallas Morning News, the fourth largest news market in the US. started as print site for citizen journalism in 2005, and it evolved into a website by April 2007 and now has a spot on Facebook. It developed the reverse publishing model, calling it “find,share, and connect.” Subscribers to the regular DMN paper actually get Neighborsgo in their Friday paper. You can also find Neighborsgo in 450 locations. By July 2010, the web edition of Neighborsgo had 22,000 members and over 55,400 stories. The Neighborsgo editors are so cool that they meet every other week at Starbuck’s scattered around the Metroplex. Plus, they really have a gigantic editorial staff–necessary for fact verification.

To write about a citizen journalism in a forum sense, one should become a part of their writing community first to really experience the site. And is a wonderful site!

I submitted a couple of articles about city issues in Tyler, the largest city in East Texas and 100 miles east of Dallas. The Tyler Industry Growth Initiative (IGI) plans on promoting  Tyler’s semi-closeness to Dallas, so writing for seemed like a good thing for a Tyler writer to do. The IGI has ten strategies designed to bring Tyler into the innovation economy era. On the other hand, I protested the conclusions of the Tyler Transit consultants. Moreover, I was born and raised in Dallas, living there for 3/5 of my 51 years.

Regarding the look of the site, you can post a story, photo or video and create a blog, and the major interest categories are Know your neighbor, Focus on faith, Pets, Military, Schools and Making a difference. Besides these six categories, you can find Arts/Entertainment, Business, Food, Sports, Senior Spotlight, In the Classroom, State Fair, Advice, City News, and Transportation.

When you publish an article for, you need to enter a community also, such as East Dallas or North Oak Cliff. Besides the DFW area, other entities are part of the community, notably DART (the bus/train serivce) and Jason Castro–American Idol candidate from Rockwall–a suburb northeast of Dallas, and Lenny Kravitz, since he sung in a Lewisville choir, together with something called “Dharma Initiative.” Stephenville, a small city southeast of Dallas, got on the list despite being well away from the Metroplex. looks like a great site to have on one’s short list of sites for citizen journalism articles if you live near Dallas-Forth Worth. If you don’t live in north or east Texas, then do an Internet search for another major US city that sponsors a citizen journalism/user-generated content section.

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11 2010