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Website review: HelloGiggles.com provides entertainment for women

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A screen shot taken of HelloGiggles.com. Captured on Nov. 30, 2012.

Independent females looking for beauty and fashion tips, the freshest treats, entertainment news and a good giggle will love the website HelloGiggles.com.

The newest articles are displayed on the main page of HelloGiggles.com. Visitors to the site also have the option to have the “most loved” articles displayed on this page instead.

At the top of the page, the content is divided into 13 different groups: entertainment, treats, beauty, fresh giggles, cuteness, home, social studies, rants, raves, how to’s, moms, he haw and the daily’s. The entertainment, treats, beauty, social studies, rants, raves, how to’s and the daily’s groups are self explanatory, but the fresh giggles, cuteness, moms and he haw categories are more specific. The fresh giggles category includes stories that are newer to the site.  The cuteness group pulls together all things “cute.” Pictures and stories about cute animals, babies, recipes and finger nail art are all included in the cuteness group. The moms tab consists of stories and advice columns about moms. The he haw category is more or less a random compilation of stories that don’t fit anywhere else.Stories in all categories were initially posted into the main page and then categorized into the proper group.

Under each category, readers can choose to see the newest or most loved stories. Readers can also access other media through categories titled new, videos, articles, shop, authors, write us, contribute, BFFs, forum and Youtube.

HelloGiggles.com is not a breaking news site. The contributors write feature stories and advice pieces. This site is designated for entertainment purposes only. It aims to get readers in a good mood and engaged in a topic of their interest.

The producers issued a mission statement stating that HelloGiggles.com is “the ultimate entertainment destination for smart, independent and creative females. Everything hosted on the site will be lady-friendly, so visitors need not worry about finding the standard Boys Club content that makes many entertainment sites unappealing to so many of us.”

If for some reason the site did include breaking news, it would be found on the main page and under the fresh giggles category.

The mobile site looks exactly like the site displayed on a laptop. Readers have access to the same tabs, categories and social media connections. The only downfall to the mobile site is the fact that each story on the main page appears very small and jammed together. You can hardly read the headlines. Other than that, the mobile site is just as enjoyable.

HelloGiggles.com allows readers to follow the site on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumbleUpon. Frequent visitors can also subscribe to the site’s RSS feed. Under the authors category, readers can find bios for each contributor, producer and co-founder. Almost everyone has links to personal social media accounts.

The co-founders, Zooey Deschanel, Sophia Rossi and Molly McAleer, list their personal social media accounts. Deschanel, Rossi and McAleer also include and promote several links listed under their names that direct readers to other things they are involved in. For instance, Zooey Deschanel has a link to the official website for “She & Him,” the indie folk band she is in.

There are a total of 2,976 members of Hellogiggles.com. To become a member, a reader must simply plug in a username and password. Fans of the site refer to themselves as “gigglers.” The site’s 713 separate topics can be categorized as head term and long tail topics. Head term topics include celebrity gossip and recipes, the long tail topics range from advice columns to satirical memoirs.

 Means of revenue aren’t really required for this site. The producers, Deschanel, Rossi and McAleer, all have separate occupations aside from the website. Hellogiggles.com serves as a side project for all three. Deschanel is a musician and actress, on the show “New Girl,” Rossi is a producer and McAleer writes on her own blog titled “MollsSheWrote!” All contributors to the site do so by volunteer and do not receive imbursements.

The site does not block content behind a paywall.

There is no corresponding media outlet for this site. However, they do have a Facebook page, Twitter, Tumblr and StumbleUpon account to generate readers. The three co-founders will also frequently advertise the site on their own social media accounts.

The homepage of HelloGiggles.com shows all the latest news. This can be a video, or articles that are newly popular that the site’s team thinks will be good hits for users. Every article has a corresponding picture that helps promote the article. Sometimes the article will have more than one picture and it will show on the top right corner that there is a slideshow when you click the article.

There is also a videos section to the website that will have tutorials, cartoons, videos, interviews and a lot more. What’s interesting about this site is that they have YouTube section on their site because they have a YouTube account that they post videos on. So not only can you go to HelloGiggles.com to find their newest video, but you can go on YouTube as well. However, if someone only uses to YouTube and not the actual site, they will not get all the information and new trending articles that the site has.

There haven’t been a lot of reviews of the site, seeing as it is only a year old,  but everything said so far is all positive. Meghan Casserl from Forbes.com said the site is “something like a squeaky-clean HuffPo for ‘smart, independent and creative females’”. Annemarie Dooling of Huffingtonpost.com said she loved how colorful the site is because it gives it that something extra that people (mostly females) want in a news site.

HelloGiggles.com has its own contribute part of the site where users can upload their pictures, videos and texts. Before their work can be published,  authors must agree to the site’s terms and email the staff. The staff has to approve of the upload before actually making it live on the site.

If a user does not want to post something to the website but would instead like to talk about something, there’s a forum page. This is for users of the site to discuss different topics, articles, suggestions for the site and pretty much anything. Within each theme there are different topics discussed. The site does not really have hyperlocal content. It’s more content that can be geared towards anyone anywhere. This way, users can get the more out of the site and have fun.

HelloGiggles.com does have a disclaimer at the bottom of their homepage that, when clicked on, tells users the content is “opinion-based information.” They claim to fact-check it the best they can but there could be errors within the text.

Users are allowed to share, like or re-tweet content on the site. They can also post general comments.. When a user clicks to comment on something, there is another disclaimer that states the producers have the right to remove any comment if it does not meet their guidelines. They state they would like to keep it a positive place and to refrain from posting spam, advertisements and links to other blogs. If the site posts something from another site, they also put the original URL for people to go to for more information.

The site is only a year old and is already doing great. They are attached to several social media sites and have a good amount of members. A person does not have to be a member to use the site either so there is a lot of traffic on the site. To generate income, the site has put up banner ads, which can be annoying at times.

My only criticism is the fact that sometimes the ad gets in the way of the site covering up recently posted news and most loved. Overall, I love HelloGiggles.com.

How The New York Times’ Facebook is staying current in age of social media

The New York Times facebook page has over 2,514,411 fans and 51,372 people who are talking about it.

The page is arranged in a timeline format ranging from the 1800s to the present. The first post was changed to the date of Sept. 18, 1851, when The New York Times, called The New-York Daily Times at the time, was founded.

The first post says, “‘We publish today the first issue of the New-York Daily Times, and we intend to issue it every morning (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come,’ wrote The Times’s founders, Henry Jarvis Raymond, speaker of the New York State Assembly, and George Jones, an Albany banker, in the inaugural edition. It cost one cent per copy.”

The next few posts discuss the paper’s name change from The New-York Daily Times to The New-York Times in 1857, the first edition of the Sunday edition in 1861 and Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.

Posts from there on range from 1896 to 2012. More current posts link to articles about breaking news stories, feature stories and advice columns. An average of three to four posts are added every day.

A recent link with over 550 likes and 269 comments is an opinion piece titled “How to Live without Irony” by Christy Wampole. Wampole suggests adults should ask themselves, “Do I communicate primarily through inside jokes and pop culture references? What percentage of my speech is meaningful?”

Many of the 269 comments are actually negative and critical. Neither the writer or anyone else from The New York Times responded or defended the criticism.The company boasts the caption, “Welcome to The New York Times on Facebook- a hub for conversation about news and our page. Like our page and connect with Times journalists and readers,” but this is kind of a lie.  The reader never really gets to engage with the journalists if they don’t respond to comments made on posts.

Arguably, the lack of response doesn’t mean the company doesn’t know what people are saying, however. It is assumed writers post questions like this to engage with readers and spark their attention. No attention is bad attention, right?

The Facebook page also includes several photos and videos that have accompanied major news stories. Sadly, none of the pictures or videos have drawn extensive attention from fans of the page.

It is hard to know if the Times’ Facebook page does encourage revenue for the news company, but it certainly can’t hurt business-especially when it’s trying to get readers to pay for access inside a 10-story pay wall.

Programming preschoolers, a debate by Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist, brought up a very interesting debate in his column titled “New Rules.”

He wrote it from China, a country that is predominantly known for producing intelligent, successful children.

A picture by Jon Lim of Estonian children learning to program computers in first grade. This is a screenshot taken from Wired.com.

The Chinese culture overall is one that values achievement.

Author Amy Chua, who wrote the memoir “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” said that her children were raised to think that an A- was a terrible grade and that they could only participate in activities that could potentially lead to winning a gold medal someday.

Friedman said this way of thinking led him to think about a new program that is being developed in Estonia, a small country located in northern Europe.

According to Wired.com, Estonian first graders are being taught to program and code websites.

The reasoning behind this comes from the country’s desire to increase development, which stemmed from the creation of Skype in 2003.

Participation in the programming class is a choice, however. Mozilla executive director Mark Surman explained that children decide if they want to be content managers or consumers around age eight.

In “New Rules,” Friedman takes a stance on this issue and suggests that Americans develop more vocational-training classes for young students. He suggests that American students should strive for the practical training of the Estonian and the academic excellence of the Chinese.

However, in many ways, America is already jumping on this band wagon.

Carlos Bueno, Facebook engineer, recently wrote a children’s book titled “Lauren Ipsum.” It is a fairytale that introduces children to computer programming.

Bueno said that programming should be a part of everyone’s education.

“The first step to controlling your life in the modern world is understanding computers,” he said.

With all of this said and done, there is another side to this argument.

President Obama and former president Clinton have both said that if you just “work hard and play by the rules” you should expect that the American system will deliver you a decent life and a chance for your children to have a better one.

Friedman argues that this slogan is out dated and needs to change.

“Technology and globalization are wiping out lower-skilled jobs faster, while steadily raising the skill level required for new jobs,” he said.

It is apparent that Obama is catching on to the new wave of technological education. He is quoted by Friedman as saying, “We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology.”

To conclude Friedman’s article, he questions if the success-driven Chinese will follow in Estonia’s footsteps. He feels that American students should follow suite with children in Estonia and be introduced to vocational-training classes due to the recession and the increasing demand for jobs in technology.

A review of Lifeasmom.com

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The blog mylifeasmom.com serves to help busy moms preserve their tranquility and peace of mind by suggesting resources and outlets for a more balanced life.

Lifeasmom.com can be very influential for busy moms who:

  • Look for healthy, easy recipes to feed their families
  • Want to find inexpensive alternatives for buying clothes and food
  • Want t converse with other women/moms

For instance, the blog has an entire section of healthy, seasonal recipes that are both easy to make and good for you.

There is also another section that is dedicated to book clubs that the busy mom can participate in. This part of the blog allows readers to join together and comment on their discoveries in the text.

The authors of Lifeasmom.com use very neutral, calm tones in the layout. This accompanies the crazy lives of their audience because the site is meant to be a “safe haven” of sorts. The idea is for women to come to this blog and unwind.

The tone in which the writers of the blog use is very conversational. Many words are written in “cute” swirly letters and in a creative and easily applicable language. Headlines such as “Buy or DIY,” highlight posts that are meant to help busy moms increase their qualities of life.

Being that it is fall, I feel that the writers should feature a post that is all about making your own Halloween costumes. This is an easy way for parents who are on a tight budget to make the best out of the holiday.

I think the writers should also post about easy, safe ways to carve pumpkins. I think the site should include appliques that the audience could download and print.

I also think it would be interesting to look ahead to November and include recipes that would allow a family to have an “all vegan thanksgiving dinner.”

Busymomsblog.org is definitely competition for this blog. However, mylifeasmom.com has a much more interesting layout.

It appears that the writer of busymomsblog.org doesn’t put as much time into the layout of her content because there are many colors that clash, for instance the banner color is florescent purple, and the background is a pale pink color.

Another competitive site is chicbusymom.blogpost.com. This blog is full of fashion and interior design ideas. It is comparable with mylifeasmom.com because the layout of the site is very well done, and you can tell that the writer has the clear cut intention of bringing “chicness” back into motherhood.

However, chicbusymom.blogspot.com could use more pictures and creative fonts.

Stuftmama.com is similar to lifeasmom.com because it is also dedicated to healthy living and eating. The layout is also very tranquil with its light blue theme.

I like that the writer of stuftmama.com includes many of her own personal stories. She writes about the daily frustrations of trying to stay fit and dealing with her children. I think lifeasmom.com would be making a wise decision of the chose to do something like this as well.