Check Out Diesel’s Uber-Interactive Spring 2010 Online Lookbok

DIESEL: Interactive 2010 Spring Shopping Video Catalogue

Diesel’s new Spring 2010 lookbook video combines three of my favorite things: videos, wasting time and shopping. Instead of watching, clicking about the website to find that killer red dress and then buying it, the new video allows you to mouse over said dress and put it in your cart right away. Admittedly, the shopping feature is a tad clunky in execution, but they get major points for sticking it to old media with this one. Check out the Real Thing here.

Cross-posted from my blog on TrueSlant.com

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Kindle Ad Fails Hard

Kindle may be Amazon’s best selling product, but apparently the iPad has descended from the heavens to be amazing at “EVERYTHING.” Hope someone got spanked for that ad placement.

Is Michael Wolff Right or Just Attention Seeking?

dead_newspaperIn a panel discussion heard ’round the publishing world, Newser media columnist and notorious inflamatory-claim-making-attention-whore Michael Wolff claimed that 80% of newspapers will be dead and gone within 18 months. Also present for Wolff’s proclamation of doom was Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, on whom Wolff pinned most of the blame for the newspaper shit storm that’s well under way. (The oft-repeated idea here being that Craigslist done stole the classified business from papers.)

Not one to lie down and take it, Newmark in turn pinned the blame on sloppy reporting that doesn’t live up to public expectation. “They failed on that weapons of mass destruction thing. And they failed on that financial collapse thing,” he said. Both true, but neither argument is central when it comes to the demise of the printed word.

On the one hand you’ve got Wolff fawning for the cameras and bitching about Craigslist when the fact that Craigslist now claims most of the classified ad content in the US is true but irrelevant. Yes, it happened and print can’t  sustain itself without that business. But local papers could easily outdo Craigslist in terms of localized personals (bikes for sale, etc.), they just haven’t gotten their shit together enough to do so. The problem is not just a loss of classified revenue, it’s a lack of ingenuity. That said, I still think most papers have got a little more than 18 months.

Everything You Need To Know About Social Media and Networks

I asked four Web experts to recommend the best books in the area of networks and social media. Here’s what they had to say:

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Cultural historian and media scholar in the Department of Media Studies and Law at the University of Virginia and author.

picture-11The Book: “The Wealth of Networks” by Yochai Benkler

“It’s a formidable manifesto about the ways the digital technologies will alter our sense of value and our understanding of how we build things in the world. Benkler wants us to think beyond scarcity. What he is saying is that the tradition of political economy has been, for centuries, about managing scarcity. Coming up with models about efficient distribution of resources, his book sort of blows all of that away and shows a very different picture of world. One in which value is subject to the ability to manage abundance.

It’s too easy to say that we live in a world of unlimited information or information overload. What Benkler is pointing out is that real value is determined by the ways that people leverage this abundance to create huge and functional structures that don’t depend on the old reward systems where you had to pay somebody with goods, services, money, to get them to do something. Benkler points out that there are some really elaborate and valuable experiments in an electronic networked economy that don’t require you to reward people with those sorts of things. The reward is sociality, being part of something. The two best examples are Linus and Wikipedia. The reward for them is the deep reward of human beings working with each other.

Whether you buy his argument one, 50 or 100 percent, you can’t ignore this book. It’s a great conversation starter about the changes we’re going through.”

Josh Benton, director of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab.

picture-2The Book: “Here Comes Everybody” by Clay Shirky

“It’s about how the Internet makes organizing groups trivially easy and how that process changes the kinds of groups that get formed and how it disrupts business and other structures that are based on doing that group formation in the old, expensive way.

I’m most interested in it from a journalism perspective since that’s what I do. Fundamentally, it gets at how the Internet eliminates a lot of the power that comes with owning a distribution channel. Before, if you had a group of people who wanted to know about city council in Boston and you had a group of people when knew about city council in Boston, to connect those two people you needed to have a journalist in the middle who would talk to the people who know what they’re talking about and would then share that knowledge with a large audience of people who buy the newspaper or watch the TV broadcast. That channel isn’t as important anymore. It’s easier to get around that channel; it’s easier for groups with like interests to assemble themselves without the intervention of a middle man, which is unfortunate for those folks who’ve made a living being quality, competent middle men.

It’s perfectly aligned to beatblogging because it’s all about how groups form. And around every beat there’s an invisible group of people who care about that beat and know about that beat. No matter how good a reporter you are pre-Internet, you were only going to be able to know a tiny fraction of those people. When that community can form around a Web site and form around this blog, the communication doesn’t have to be the reporter seeking out a source blindly or going to the same place you always go to. Now the sources have the ability to come to you and that really ties back into what Shirky is talking about.”

Two more after the jump… Continue reading

GroundReport.com Is Hyper-Local Gone Global– But Will It Work?

picture-3While interning at the State Department in 2005, Rachel Sterne watched Kofi Annan plead with the Security Council to stop the madness in Darfur and saw nothing happening. The classic next move in a situation like that would’ve probably involved buying a supportive “Save Darfur” t-shirt and turning genocide into her go-to talking point for dinner parties.

But for Sterne, who had just received her BA from New York University and was, no doubt, full of that particular brand of youthful idealism that makes problems seem scalable, that didn’t seem like enough. Her belief that “there was no public pressure about Darfur because the public didn’t have a personal connection with the issue” plagued her, inspiring the founding of GroundReport.com in the summer of 2007. An open source global news site that shares revenue with its far-flung network of 4,000 citizen reporters, GroundReport has been called “the Wikipedia of news.” Its professed goal is to democratize the media by making original, intelligent reporting possible for amateurs and professionals alike. More importantly though, the site produces international news at a fraction of the cost of the mainstream media by relying on the locals for coverage.

Though still in its infancy, the start up site has already garnered a decent amount of attention. Early on interviews with CNNMoney.com have since been superceded by features in Business Week, which recently named Sterne one of its Top 25 Social Entrepreneurs. Similarly promising are content partnerships with the likes of The Huffington Post and Mogulus.

Given the journalism world’s recent and widespread adoption of the Throwing Spaghetti At A Wall and Seeing What Sticks, this attention comes as no surprise. Because while the concept of using a worldwide network of reporters to cover international news is nothing revolutionary, GroundReport’s reliance on citizens and its willingness to share the profit with them is something of a new experiment. Continue reading

See.Click.Fix the Problem

picture-13After three days and five different screencasting services, I have finally found one that is both free and works reasonably well. Only drawback is that the video won’t embed on WordPress without some plug in action that I have yet to install. So click here to check it out.

The site is called See.Click. Fix and it functions much like a digital version of reporting something through 311 (non-emergency problems). With this site though, previously reported issues are visible and you can add to them, track their progress, and know that they haven’t been entirely lost.

I’m not sure how much it will do in New York where the problems reported aren’t so numerous and the bureaucracy is enormous, but the site’s already had some success in terms of smaller towns subscribing and legitimately using the site to monitor public space problems. Anyway, here’s to hoping that my bitching about blocked bike lanes will do something…

HuffPost “Citizen Journalism Standards” Yawn Worthy

1701596155_878c369cbdThe Huffington Post is just decided to dedicate $1.75million to investigative reporting. They’re not quite sure exactly where they’ll spend it yet, or on whom, but say it’s definitely happening. In preparation for this little experiment and in the wake of the successes (and a few failures) of HuffPost’s Off The Bus project, the site just released it’s list of Citizen Journalism Publishing Standards.

I’m excited about what they’re doing with their investigative reporting project, but mother of god, the most common sense, boring list ever. Honestly, it almost makes me question citizen journalism in general the the HuffPost expects to be receiving posts from people who don’t even understand that web content should include links and may be edited by, well, editors. Is this just the HuffPost assuming we’re idiots or are wannabe journalists actually dumb enough to need these reminders?

Photo: Flickr CC