Connect with ThingLink

We launched our developer program quietly a few months ago. The Thinglink SDK, as you could call it, allows you to create your own Rich Media Tags simply and make them available to all Thinglink users.

Today we’re doing a couple of major improvements to our developer offering. First, we’re allowing the tags you create to be sticky, i.e. the tags can have a close button and they won’t go away when the user moves the mouse out of the tag. This is especially useful if you developed a video player or a similar application.

Example

<script type=”text/javascript”

src=”//www.thinglink.com/jse/thinglink.js”></script>

<script>

thinglink.setSticky(true);

</script>

 

Check out the deeper documentation at http://www.thinglink.com/help/Thinglink%20Javascript%20Library

Second, we released a Developer Preview of Thinglink Connect. Thinglink Connect is a simple library which makes it very easy to add Thinglink to any platform. It uses the industry standard OAuth2 –specification (or at least a very close approximation of revision -16 of it.)

 

Here’s an example how you would use it e.g. with JQuery 

<script src=”//www.thinglink.com/jse/tlconnect.js”></script>

<script>

TLC.init({

client:'[YOUR CLIENT ID]’,

user: ‘[ANY USER ID]’,

isOwner: true,

redirectUri: ‘http://mysite.com/thinglink/redirecturi.html’

});

</script>

<div class=”thinglinkConnect”></div>

 

First, we load the tlconnect.js script. In this case, we do it synchronously. Second, we initialize the TLC object which is created by the tlconnect.js script. We put in the client id (which you can get from your Developer page on www.thinglink.com/developer) , an user ID (which is an opaque string from you), the isOwner parameter specifying that yes, the user currently logged in on your site is also the person responsible for editing this site. Then, finally the OAuth2 –specified redirect URI.

Third, we add just a simple DIV which is replaced by TLC.init() with a nice little “Thinglink Connect” icon if the user isn’t yet logged in.

Check out the full documentation at http://www.thinglink.com/help/Developer. There are a lot more options, functions and tweakeroos available to ease your integration.  Please remember that this is a developer preview, so things might still be changing around a bit. If you want to influence the library and the API, now’s the time. We welcome comments at http://support.thinglink.com.

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot: we now support oEmbed on all of our image pages. It’s a quick hack, but let us know if you’re finding it useful. This should make it far easier to embed Thinglinked images if your platform supports the oEmbed standard.

ThingLink CTO Janne Jalkanen, @ecyrd

 

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Five Ways Interactive Images Can Enhance Brand Engagement

This post by ThingLink CMO Neil Vineberg was recently published by MarketingProfs.com.

Remember image maps? Invented in 1993 at Honolulu Community College by student Kevin Hughes, image maps allow you to include multiple “clickable” areas within one image that link to specified URLs.

With more than 100 billion images online, several companies have expanded on the image-map concept with interactive image technology that lets users aggregate and tag content within images, offering marketers news ways for engaging brand communities.

Continue to the story.

 

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Real Estate Agents – 5 Steps To Creating a Web Page On Facebook

With more than a billion people, Facebook is the community of choice for communicating and sharing with friends and customers. A new interactive image tool – ThinkLink Tabs for Facebook – makes it easier than ever for realtors to engage effectively with home buyers and renters.

Why should realtors be on Facebook?

Marketing expert Laura M. Donovan explains,”94% of businesses are using Social Media to Market. Are you still in the 6%? If you are – you are missing a great opportunity to really get your business, service and brand out to a large group of people, translating into more revenue for your company.

Broker/Owner Michael Byrd of SLO HomeStore.com, adds: “There are a lot more people on Facebook every day than visit my site in a year. As an Exclusive Buyers Broker I have no listings with which to stimulate inquiries so, simply put, I have to go where the people are.”

Here are five steps for creating a powerful real estate sales / rental Page on Facebook using ThingLink Tabs.

 

1. Take a Screen Shot of your Home Page

A screen shot, also called a screen grab, is a quick way to capture an image you’ll need to tag for your Facebook page.

On a Mac – Use Command-Shift-3.

On a PC – Use the “Print Screen” button (may also be labeled “Prt Sc”, “Prnt Scrn”, “Print Scrn”, or similar).

 

2. Edit the Screen Shot

Edit your screen shot so it looks like your web page.

On a Mac – Open the screen shot using the PREVIEW app. Grab the part of the image that you want to appear on Facebook.

On a PC use any image editor and grab the part of the image that you want to appear in Facebook.

Here is the SLO Homestore.com page.

“I improvised by printing the page as a .pdf, converted it to .jpg then cropped it to look like a screen shot,” added Byrd.

Here’s the website image:

 

And here is how that page looks on Facebook.

Notice how Michael tagged key part of this image with links to his main website. ThingLink Tabs is your tool for adding links and posting the image to your Facebook page.

 

3. Import the image into your ThingLink account.

Sign up a free ThingLink account. Import your an image into ThingLink following the instructions at the site.

 

4. Tag the image.

ThingLink Tabs is an easy way for realtors to share content inside one image on a Facebook page. ThingLink features an interactive photo editor that lets realtors add tags to any photo. ThingLink’s exclusive Rich Media Tags feature popular media players and apps — from YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Google Maps, Spotify, FlickR, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, iTunes, Etsy, Mailchimp and FanBridge. Realtors can also create links inside images to anywhere on the Internet.

Byrd added, “ThingLink allowed me to create and post a tutorial for the most important functions of my home page. More importantly, it allowed me to make all of those functions directly accessible from one place on Facebook. I have other tabs, but they just lead to a single function compared to the ThingLink tab that provides nine specific functions. To my way of thinking, that is a very big deal.”

 

5. Post the Image on Facebook

Your image can be posted to your Facebook page with a few clicks of the mouse. Inside the ThingLink editor, simply click “Create a Tab on Facebook” and your image with its links will be transferred to your Facebook page.

ThingLink images are shareable with one click to Twitter, Facebook and email, and embeddable (like YouTube videos) into any blog or website. Every account includes metrics so realtors can monitor engagement. No programming experience is required and interactive images can be created and sent to Facebook in minutes.

ThingLink images are compatible with all websites, and can also be published and edited on any Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress.org blog.

For more information visit ThingLink.com.

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How to create an interactive ThingLink App for your Facebook Page

Engaging your audience on Facebook with ThingLink images is now easier than ever. We’ve built a feature that smoothly exports the image you choose to be featured as a ThingLink App on your Facebook page. This tutorial that takes your through the process as well as instructs you how to remove your app.

Start by tagging an image. Remember that you can upload an image to ThingLink, import an image from Facebook or Flickr or use any image URL.

After you’ve tagged the image, you will have the option of creating a ThingLink App on Facebook. Click the Share button, that you find above the comment field next to the image, and click the Facebook option furthest to the left.

 

Having begun the process, you have the option of seeing how the image would preview on a Facebook page, or to proceed. If your image is small, we center the image, and if your image is wide, we scale it down to fit. It’s always a good idea to preview your work to avoid confusion at a later stage. Remember that your image can be 810 pixels wide with Facebook’s new format, allowing for a lot of tag exploration.

 

If you are doing this process for the first time, regardless of if you logged in with an email address or your Facebook account, you need to enter your Facebook account again. At this stage, we verify the pages to which you have admin rights and provide you with a list of them. As you can see from the image, it is possible to also overwrite an old image for a page. There is no limit for how many times you can overwrite a ThingLink App.

 

Give your App a name. It’s by default called ThingLink, but you’re free to name it however you want.

 

Bravo, you should have your ThingLink App up and running. Go and see how it looks!

If you want to change the icon of your ThingLink App, you can find Facebook’s instructions for it here.

 

Your apps appear on the top navigation bar. To ensure maximum visibility for your ThingLink App, you should feature it visibly as one of the first three apps. If you for any reason want to remove your App, this is how.¨

 

Uninstalling your ThingLink App on Facebook

 

 

To delete the app, click the little arrow on the right. This opens the editing options for your entire layout.

 

To delete the app, click the editing tool and choose Uninstall App from the drop down menu.

 

With your free ThingLink account you can create an unlimited amount of ThingLink Apps on Facebook, with a small bit of ThingLink branding.

Start creating now!

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Islands in the Stream: An Update about ThingLink Tabs for Facebook and Timeline

Facebook just announced that all Facebook Pages will be migrated to the new Timeline format on March 30.

Please take a moment to review this post on how you can use ThingLink to take advantage of the new Timeline, and feel free to let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

 

 

 

Q. I read that by launching Timeline on branded pages, Facebook has essentially “killed” Tabs. Is this true?

A. No, not at all. Users can still feature a ThingLink Tab on their pages; they will, however, no longer be able to use the Tab as a default landing page. Once you convert to the new Timeline, your Tabs (apps) will be displayed at the top of the page, underneath the main image. Once a user clicks on the image, the Tab will be fully functional, just as before.

 

Q. So how do I best use ThingLink in Timeline?

A. The new page design allows page owners to tell richer stories through bigger photos (now 831 pixels wide). Start by posting creative images with compelling audio, video, and rich media content, and updating them frequently.

  • HIGHLIGHT YOUR TAB (app) — Photos, likes and apps (Tabs) are at the top of your page. You can have a maximum of 12. Make your ThingLink Tab one of the top 3 viewable at the top of your page; all other tabs will appear in a drop-down menu.
  • CREATE A STORY IN TIMELINE: When you launch a campaign or promotion, post a story about your Tab (app) in the timeline.
  • PIN POSTS: After you post a story, click the pencil button to pin the story. Pinned posts highlight important stories at the top of a page for up to seven days.

Q. Can I still make a ThingLink Tab into my landing page?

A. No. You can make your Tab a top choice under the new header image, as noted above. But, you can no longer set a Tab as a default landing page. By posting a story to your timeline about your Tab, you can direct fans back to your interactive image again and again for the latest content — and help build your relationship with users.

Q. Can I still use ThingLinked images outside Facebook?

A. Of course! The great thing about ThingLink images is you can share and embed them with interactive links outside Facebook. One image works inside Facebook and across the Web.

Have a question? Write to Neil (US) or Jonas (Finland).

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Introducing ThingLink Tabs for Facebook

Today, we here at ThingLink are proud to announce the launch of ThingLink Tabs for Facebook — a way for artists, creators, small businesses, and individuals to share a wide range of content inside an image on your Facebook Fan Page.

 When history considers MySpace, it probably won’t look kindly on the seizure-inducing backgrounds or terrible haircuts — but it will hopefully recognize how groundbreaking it was in providing a place for artists to easily host all their content in one place. No more figuring out HTML or domain names. Just cutting, pasting, and getting videos, music, tickets, and information on one site. See examples by ThingLink, Alan Partridge, NME, David Lynch and EMI.

 

Watch, listen, and interact, all within one image

No one else has managed that — until now. ThingLink Tabs for Facebook allows users to embed audio, video, and rich media links in images and post them as a Tab on Facebook. Fans can watch, listen, and interact, all within one image on one page. You can link out anywhere you want on the web and links can be changed as often as you like.

And it’s not just for bands. Maybe you’re a real estate agent and want to post videos of homes for sale inside an image of a neighborhood. Maybe you’re a small business and want to tag reviews and post audio of customer testimonials. Maybe you’re working on a film and want to release a clip a day to whet appetites. You get the picture.

 

An interactive web experience that drives engagement

Facebook has almost a billion users, which means if you’re doing anything, your audience is there. Super-serve them with content, presented in a simple, intuitive, elegant manner. No matter whether you’re managing a Facebook Fan Page for your band, brand, business or community group, ThingLink Tabs for Facebook transforms your page into an interactive web experience that drives engagement.

ThingLink images are viewable on mobile phones, tablets and computers. Every account includes our exclusive HoverClick™ metrics so you can monitor viewer engagement.

Get started now! The current ThingLink Tabs for Facebook plans are:

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Make today a special Valentine’s Day with a personalized ThingLink card

Oh god, it’s Valentine’s Day again. The Hallmark holiday created to celebrate love has now become a thorny minefield of consumption, rage, heartbreak, and chocolate. It always seems you have two options: you can either protest or give in.

Or you can go the third way and define Valentine’s Day for yourself, celebrating everything you love. Not just romantic partners but friends, kids, mentors, and people you’ve never met but admire and appreciate. Excellent blogger Maria Sheila Riikonen has created a number of interactive Valentine’s cards that celebrate love between partners, but also between childhood friends and classmates. Her images are whimsical and joyful, tagged with a variety of songs, videos, pictures, and links.

So this Valentine’s day, you can sulk, pay too much for dinner, race to the drugstore and buy a card and box of candy at the last minute — or you can use ThingLink to create personalized messages for the people you love. No stuffed animal you snag at the last minute will deliver the same DIY message that a photo with links can provide.

Head over to ThingLink and create your personalized message now!

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Optimize your eBay sales with ThingLink image shops

On the eastern end of New York’s Long Island, there sits a non-descript garage. Inside that garage, however, is another world — antique cars restored to perfection, a corner booth set up to be an exact replica of a nineteen-fifties era diner, model trains, vintage gas station signs — in short, a world made possible by eBay, and my father-in-law, the man who seems to keep that company in business.

eBay users and sellers don’t need anyone to tell them that the site can sometimes border on an addiction, and that it has created a whole new way to buy and sell goods. But now that everyone seems to have a store, how can sellers set theirs apart? Simple — by using ThingLink’s eBay tag to create interactive images and encourage deeper consumer engagement.

THE BASICS…

Say you have a blog that you use to direct customers to your eBay store. You’re probably posting images of your goods and a link to bid on them — but that requires readers to look in two places and can be cumbersome — you lost the impulse buyers if they have to scroll too much. With ThingLink you can embed a tag that will lead readers to your store with one click right in the image — they simply hover and click, then bid away. No need to for them to ever leave the image.

 

You can also embed links to similar items in your store:

 

AND BEYOND

Embedding a link to the store in an image is great — but really, not all that interesting on its own. But ThingLink can also be used to embed audio, video, and other rich media links in images — creating a whole new experience and enticing the reader to click and buy even more.

Take the example above. A thirty-something creative professional with fond memories of her grunge days and a bit of disposable income might be tempted to lay down a hundred bucks for an old magazine — but how to put her over the edge to make sure she buys? Try embedding a video of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or a Hole track and watch the nostalgia meter go to eleven.

Using ThingLink to make your blog more interactive can be a boon for your eBay store — and a heck of a lot of fun to do, too. Creating an eBay tag is as easy as grabbing the URL of the product and dropping it into the editor’s link field.

Sign up at ThingLink.com to get started.

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Five new tags to engage, entertain and educate your users

We thought we’d share the news of  five brand new rich media tags. We’re very excited by the tagging possibilities each presents to you, and can’t wait to see what our users will do with them. And as a reminder, we do offer a rich media tag development environment that anyone with some technical know-how can use to make their very own tags.

 

Little Kids Rock campaign contribution tag: We’ve rolled out a number of tags that allow users to purchase different items, but this is the first that allows them to contribute to charities. Little Kids Rock, which brings free musical instruments and music instruction to public school children, embedded the donation tag in cards sent out by board members and on its website to solicit contributions.

 

Tweet tag: You can now link to any tweet, not just a Twitter user — for instance, if you want to embed a specific comment that’s relevant to an image. Previously, an artist could only embed a tag to direct users to follow them on Twitter; now they are able to embed a tweet about, say, a new album, in an image of the album cover.

Create a tweet tag by clicking on Details or the tweet date on a tweet on Twitter and copy the unique URL. Paste the URL in ThingLink’s editor. It’s as easy as that!

 

Google Maps tag: This works great for event invites — embed a map to the event right in the image and make it even easier for attendees to find their way. Or use in a new story — add a map to show viewers exactly where something happened and let them get a sense of the location in context.

Next to every map and street view on Google Maps, there is a link box. Copy the URL and paste it in ThingLink’s editor.

 

QwipBacks™ and Chirbit: Now you have two more options in addition to SoundCloud for recording sound in images — the QwipBacks™ and Chirbit tags. Users can record their own comments on an image and also encourage others to do the same — it’s a real time conversation embedded right in a photo.

Just copy the recording’s unique URL and paste it in the editor’s link field.

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ThingLink Celebrity Wish Lists

People like presents. It’s a fact, and as much as we can talk about the spirit of goodwill during the holidays, people still like getting gifts. And it’s almost as fun to put together a gift list as it is to receive the actual gift — from kids poring through toy catalogs to the adult surreptitiously ripping pages out of the Sky Mall catalog on the plane (that adult might be me).But how to convey those wishes to friends and family? Letters to Santa get a little creepy after age ten, and dropping hints (or torn out Sky Mall catalog pictures) doesn’t work all the time.

Why not create an interactive wish list so cool-looking and captivating that people who see it won’t even realize you’re hitting them up for goodies.ThingLinked wish lists are easy to make, fun to share, and you’ll get your money back if no one shells out for those cool presents*. Just sign up for ThingLink (or sign in if you already have an account) then upload your image and tag away.

Here are a few examples:

(disclaimer: the celebrity examples were created by us and not the celebs themselves. Please don’t sue us. And if you are a celeb and want to use us for your wishlist, feel free to do so. Also, the ThingLink staff wishlist was created by us and we do actually want those things, so feel free to buy them for us).

*See, making the wish lists is free, so you don’t put any money in, so you wouldn’t get any back.

 

Lady Gaga

     

 

Newt Gingrich

 

Justin Bieber

 

 

Kim Kardashian

 

::::::

For all you squares out there, here is our official release:

 

ThingLink Launches Voice Recordable Holiday Cards and Wish Lists

Record A Voice Message into Your Holiday Photos

San Francisco, CA – [14 December 2011] – Just in time for the most wonderful time of the year, image engagement tools provider,ThingLink is celebrating the holiday season with the launch of its Interactive Holiday Cards and Wish Lists Maker. The free to use web service allows users to record and embed personal audio messages into holiday greeting cards to give their loved ones something to remember, or to make favourite gift ideas on wish lists come to life, empowered with content from around the web.

“For many younger people, traditional holiday cards are boring and standardized eCard greetings are still somewhat impersonal. At ThingLink, we’ve developed an easy and novel way to share heartfelt, personalized greetings inside digital holiday cards and wish lists,” said ThingLink CEO Ulla Engeström. “Our single image upload service eliminates the need for a separate publishing platform, meaning that anyone can post, tag and share interactive images directly from our homepage at ThingLink.com.”

Visit ThingLink.com and upload your favourite holiday photo, either by dragging the image anywhere atop the ThingLink.com home page or by clicking the ‘upload’ button and selecting one from your computer. Video and music players such as YouTube can be added, along with Flickr photos of family members and personal audio messages can be brought into the mix by using the record feature, powered by leading social sound platform, SoundCloud, to make your greeting card a tailored, interactive experience.

Favourite holiday songs and videos, links to relevant websites (or gift ideas) are all embeddable, and if all you want for Christmas is more followers, rich media tags linking to Twitter or Facebook can be added too. Friends and family can be encouraged to upload their own images and create their own greetings at the ThingLink site via sharing on social network platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Cards are then ready to email, to avoid taking chances with the Christmas postal service.

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