The Digital Gloss Files

...with Margaret Tran

Girlfriend magazine has polled teens about their online usage, finding 89% of teens are on Facebook, 21% are on Twitter (79% think it's OK for celebrities), 95% are "over MySpace", 72% don't have a blog, 62% spend 3-4 hours a day online (7% claim to spend "all day online"), 56% will tag their friends in a photo regardless of whether it's flattering, 70% won't add people they don't know, 49% change their status daily and most have 200-300 Facebook friends. Narissa, 17, tells the magazine, "I am a very private person so when I am feeling down I like to deactivate my Facebook account and have time to reconnect with myself. During these times I don't want to know what other people are doing. When I'm happy and great things are happening in my life and the world, that's when I update my status."

- Everyone's favourite video portal YouTube is in talks to fund celebrity-created content. New York Magazine's Vulture reports that the video corporation will be building out the site's new talent program by reaching out to Hollywood agencies in a bid to secure big names (ahem, "big brands") to create original content: celebrities will reported be offered $5 million per channel.

The question that begs for answers is what will be made of the YouTube celebrities who started from
Clockwise from top left: Natalie Tran, Darren Criss,
Charlie McDonnell and Charice Pempengco.
the ground up on YouTube? If big companies are trying to reach larger and more diverse audiences, why not ask the established audiences of Natalie Tran of Community Channel, Darren Criss (of a Very Musical Potter and recent Glee cast member), Charice (discovered on YouTube, sang on Oprah, also part of the Glee alumni) and Charlie McDonnell (of 'charlieissocoollike' and recently recruited by the BBC to take his subscribers behind the scenes of Doctor Who)? I mean, really, Justin Bieber started on YouTube and look how he's permeated the modern psyche.

More on mobilising large audiences, Glen Fuller looks at AOL's purchase of dynamic political community Huffington Post and what it means for Australian media companies, namely 'added value' (a.k.a. free advertising) courtesy of the engaged audience.

Dazed TV will premiere their new online TV show "Dazed TV Party" on Wednesday, February 23, at 8.30pm UK time at The monthly show will pay homage to cult 1970s show TV Party (a show that was equal parts party, talk show, live concert and political action) with the first episode featuring interviews and performances from Florence Welch and Jake Chapman among others. The show's premiere will also allow viewers to watch the show in 5-minute "webisodes" or a 45-minute continuous broadcast. Could this be a step in the right direction regarding exclusive content from publishers? Check out the trailer below.

Video courtesy of Dazed Digital

The TV industry looks to tap into social media in a bid to secure eyeballs with experts referring to Facebook and Twitter's 'water-cooler' effect in real time. As Albert Chang, executive vice president for digital media for the Disney/ABC Television Group can attest, "We know people are multitasking while theyíre watching TV... The question is, how do we tap into that and create a whole different consumer experience?". Businesses and major corporations are now realising the power of social media in creating buzz – and, of course, free advertising via the 'recommend to a friend' mentality – the next step is, how can you build on it? (Psst, see Twitter's trending topics every time Glee is on.)

Tumblr's "fail whale" a.k.a. most bothersome
page known to all Tumblr addicts.
Still on digital habits of the youth, it appears that social media reigns supreme as blogging drops down the list of things to check in to. Stemmed by the urge to 'connect' and socialise, blogging ascended the ranks about 10 years ago with the likes of Livejournal and Blogger making the activity popular. Once Facebook and Twitter came into the picture, real time socialising became truly realised with many teenagers preferring these platforms to share thoughts and ideas with their audiences, i.e. their friends and family. It seems there's much less pressure to subscribe to Facebook and Twitter (and nowadays Tumblr, as founder David Karp will attest) than they did with blogging.

Augmented reality continues its journey through the digital ranks in a bid to reveal its functionalities as more than just an afterthought of 'Oh, hey, that looks cool'. It appears that retail and gaming industries are likely to benefit commercially from the technology, but how long will it be 'til that happens? For those not clued in on this new technology, below is the Museum of London's "Streetmuseum" application, which allows users to overlay on the phone's "street view" an image of what the street looked like hundreds of years ago.

Video courtesy of MrJackKerruish @ YouTube

Android and video games dominated the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. Cross-platform gaming was also showcased, allowing players to team up regardless of whether they were on PC, PS3 or a mobile device. The Hollywood Reporter is poised to believe that "moving forward, more consumers will use one device for everything, including gaming, multimedia, entertainment and Web browsing," noting that "android is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this shift."

Independent Digital Media, publisher of, and has reported impressive year-on-year traffic increases to its sites, validated by Nielson Market Intelligence. PRIMPED is up 38% (Jan 2010 - Jan 2011), The Knot is up 194% and Younger You is up 351% over the nine months since its inception in May 2010. Publisher Marina Go says, "Digital is a highly efficient and cost-effective way to market to women who want instant gratification in their search for the latest trends, ideas and products, with 96%* of women researching products online before going in-store to purchase. We have demonstrated that high quality content is the key to success in the digital publishing sphere. We continue to expand our brands into exciting new relevant properties, both online and offline. We also remain encouraged by industry reports that advertisers are looking to divert a greater proportion of advertising spend to relevant digital publishers." (*PRIMPED user survey, Key Research Pty Ltd)

Jetstar is offering in-flight iPad rentals from April 2011 for AUD$10 per flight. Australian Business Traveler reports the in-flight iPads will come loaded with "movies, music, magazines, books and games" and will be available on Jetstar's A320 flights in Australia and Asia."

T-shirt aficionados rejoice! Threadless will enlist its homegrown online community for worthy causes under Threadless Atrium. Their community of 100,000 graphic designers and 3 million to 4 million monthly visitors will soon be able to participate not only via their website, but via widgets and Facebook and iPhone apps. Their most recent good cause was the global flood relief (where US$9 from each 'Riders Through The Storm' T-shirt went to the flood fund), so spread the love!

Mr. Porter has opened for business. The stand alone site was launched by the same crew behind wildly successful designer shopping site, Net-A-Porter, with founder Natalie Massenet enlisting former Esquire editor Jeremy Langmead and a team of experienced menís-wear editors curate the editorial content.

Newspapers have fallen out of love with Apple's new subscription policy, which The Atlantic muses is "[throwing] a wet blanket over the efforts of leading brand newspapers to develop apps for the iPad platform. It is a wakeup call for publishers seduced by the beauty of the iPad, the simplicity of iTunes and the brand of Apple." It's an intriguing time for traditional publishers and accessibility across the widest attainable audience.

That said, the future of online content is not free, according to IBM strategist Saul Berman. While consumers won't pay for the full thing, Berman believes they will pay for small things here and there to enhance their experience of content already readily available to them. Not only that, a recent study has shown that the bulk of online newspaper growth is within the 55 and older age group, not the younger audience as most digital strategists may believe. It makes sense considering much of the younger generation are nurtured on a steady diet of diverse news sources as well as the critical ability to navigate the quagmire of the internet.

Our thoughts are with the people of Libya, where the internet has been switched off amid reports of carnage and truly horrific incidents spilling out via Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Girl With a Satchel