The Digital Gloss Files

...with Margaret Tran

Image credit: 13inc
Glamour US' new iPad-only reality TV show "Glamour Girls" will allow viewers buy Gap products directly off the runway. Of course, you'll need an iPad to unlock this delicious new product; with just 4600 app subscribers compared to their 2 million magazine readers, it'll be interesting to see just how the show – which follows the fashion careers (what else?) of four women (how very Sex and the City meets The Hills) – will be.

Serious question for news outlets from Dennis Mortensen: are you worrying too much about search and not enough about the front page? The former Yahoo director of data insights invites news organisations to invest more into stories on their front page with the same trait of currency that has always driven news (the word 'new' is in 'news' for a reason).

As for the consumers, think about your habits towards news online ñ how many of you venture past the stories on the homepage of say The New York Times? Do you click on one story, maybe scroll a bit and click 'Next page' if your eyeballs haven't glazed off onto Twitter/Facebook/blog-open-in-another-tab? When was the last time you delved into each individual section and really trawl through the site for a good read?

Are search engine optimisation (SEO) practices killing the punny headline? Possibly. However, one might argue that the growing influence of sharing news stories via social-networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter will change this back and for better. For the uninitiated, using SEO methods (which can involve dumping in keywords when producing content online) helps get your pages up on the first few pages of a Google search, thus increasing your chances of being clicked on and thus, more traffic! Wheeeeee ~

Al Jazeera English's new talk show, The Stream, will be wired to social media. While reliant on discussions conducted on Twitter and Facebook, the show will not function on 'crowd-sourcing' (which relies on the community to provide its content), rather, it will look to the conversation throughout the show in a similar way to how the Australian audiences do so with every Monday night with the ABC's Q and A on Twitter (highlight of my Monday - oh yes). The Stream is scheduled for to broadcast in May.

Video courtesy of Wired

Journalism lecturer and former web developer Matt Waite recently aired his frustrations in merging traditional news gathering methods with the possibilities of digital platforms. News online doesn't have to be purely article, gallery, poll, maybe a few more images scattered here and there ñ all features of which are things that many open-source content systems already possess. It seems few journalists and developers are appreciated to their full potential. Part of the reason is that both roles are often approached separately, in separate conversations and discussing completely different things ñ which makes little sense considering both roles are essentially content-making roles. Why can we all just work together? *sob*

On that note, can a web design change the way you read the news online? MSNBC has pulled together some beautiful ways of presenting news, including BLTWY in a way that's not only visually informative, but interactive. They've also got a fairly basic news game 'Newsblaster' which has you launching exploding bubbles at news headlines and lets you compete with your mates on Facebook. All article comments seemingly require you to be logged into Facebook though, in line with the new third-party commenting system introduced by the social-networking site last week.

If traditional job-seeking methods fail, try these 5 ways on using Twitter to find a job. Methods include engaging in conversations and discussions on topics you're interested in, plus the ever golden rule of watching what you Tweet. Obviously, should one seek a job through Twitter, this is really common sense.

Speaking of Twitter, how much free speech can one truly exercise online? The Global Networking Initiative is a pact to protect free speech rights for online users. It has been signed by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, yet intriguingly, two of the biggest social-networking platforms, Twitter and Facebook have not signed the pledge.

Hitting book retailers on April 21, Tweets from Tahrir will curate some of the earliest and most touching reports from the Mubarak protests. And here I was all worried about all those #Egypt Tweets being lost in the ether of the Internet.

Veteran film critic, Roger Ebert, has delivered his final speech at the TED Conference, crediting the digital revolution in "saving his life":
ìPeople talk loudly and slowly to meÖ sometimes they assume I am deaf. There are people that donít want to make eye contact. It is human nature to look away from illness; we donít enjoy a reminder of our own fragile mortalityÖ thatís why writing on the Internet has been a life saver for me.î
Ever wonder why bloggers v.s. journalists debate won't die? Since we're always approaching the topic with this 'Us vs. Them' mentality, it's no surprise. Few discussions seem to draw on the fact that some journalists have become bloggers while some bloggers go on to work as freelance, or even full-time journalists for mainstream news organisations (hello, Huffington Post).

Australian retailers are being warned to embrace online or face dire circumstances akin to Borders and A&R. A new study has shown that 40 percent of Australians are shopping online with 85 percent of consumers doing so out of convenience. Fifty-four percent of consumers believe in online shopping offering greater choice in products, while 66 percent believe in getting better deals online. A sobering two out of five Australians also believe we're very behind in online retailing in comparison to the rest of the world.

Style site FashionStake has relaunched as online boutique (read: online shopping) to allow its growing community to purchase independent designer goods at a discount. Started by Harvard graduates, Daniel Gulati and Vivian Weng in September 2010, the original premise allowed would-be fashion community members to buy a stake in independent and emerging designers to help said designs come to life. The site's third rendition taps into its established community by allowing members to vote on favourite designs. It's like the online equivalent of your weekend markets bubbling with up-and-coming designers looking to break into the industry.

Brad Goreski a.k.a Rachel Zoe's former assistant has ventured into the blog-o-sphere with his new blog, Brad's Blog. Fabulous.

Smartphones and tablet goodness are screwing up our sleeping patterns. With a constant access to information flow, one can definitely see just how easy it is to get locked into 'checking' our phones, emails, tablets and all that shebang. I can't be the only one with notification pings coming out of my ears. Dear social media ñ stop eating my life, s'il vous plait?
And your juicy wall of text for the week is from veteran print and radio journalist, James Fallow, as he ventures in "learning to love the (shallow, divisive, unreliable) new media".
While itís interesting and even useful to know whether todayís journalism marks a descent from past standards, what matters more is how it suits todayís needs. This depends on how media of the Gawker age, which deliver what the customers want rather than what they should have, handle the task of explaining the world.
Margaret Tran is an online content producer and writer often found eyeball-deep in the goodness of the internet and all things digital. She recently departed the glittering ranks of the digital crew at Pacific Magazines, where she had the privilege of working with that's life!, InStyle, KZone, Total Girl and Girlfriend magazine. Nowadays, she can be found freelancing, eating lots and swimming through her mutating piles of magazines in her home study.

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