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.
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.
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:
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.
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.