ThingLink Holiday Cards

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — time to send out holiday greetings to your friends and family! Er, maybe not. But at least this year they can be a little more fun and interactive with ThingLink.

With ThingLink holiday cards, you’ll be able to include tons of content, record messages, and send without standing in line at the post office. Simply go to ThingLink.com, sign in or sign up, and upload a great holiday photo (can’t go wrong with the one of your cat wearing antlers and glaring hatefully).  Just like you can use a ThingLinked image to embed and share a video or a song, you can use it to send a recorded message (just use the SoundCloud record feature, or add a YouTube video message). You can also link embed favorite holiday songs and videos, links to sites you love (or gift ideas) and if all you want to Christmas is more followers, you can add a rich media tag to Twitter or Facebook, too.

Since it’s the season to help others, feel free to add a link to support an organization you care about in your message. You can also encourage friends and family to upload their own images and create their own greetings at the ThingLink site.

Here are a few examples we’re created to show you how to spread the holiday spirit:

 

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ThingLink Ramps Up PR Photos

Originally published by O’Dwyer PR.

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Digital PR photos can be enhanced to include links and other content through an expanding service called ThingLink.

Neil Vineberg, the veteran PR pro who is chief marketing officer of Finland-based ThingLink and heads its North American operations, sees the service as a “generational shift” in how users interact with images.

“The job of photo editor becomes more interesting and puts publishers or PR professionals in a position to keep people on their own content,” he said.

With the service, users can embed website links, video content and pop-up info within images, without learning complicated Flash or programming. The “ThingLinked” images are then embeddable by fans, users and journalists within standard web publishing software, creating a trackable PR image unit.

“Instead of emailing a publicity photo to journalists, you can tell them to ‘take my embed code,’” said Veinberg.

Updates made to the images by ThingLink users are distributed to the embedded content so, for example, if a reporter embeds an ThingLinked image in a story, the creator of the image can update the image’s content.

While adopted early as a publicity vehicle in the music industry, use of the service is spreading to publishing and beyond as infographics and other news illustrations are given interactive and tracking capabilities with the service. The popular rock group Evanescence, for example, used ThingLink for its album release Oct. 11 to include embedded links in an image of the album cover to the band’s Twitter and facebook feeds, iTunes and YouTube, among others.

Mashable recently used the service for an infographic on the iPhone (below) while Canada’s National Post created a powerful graphic of the twin towers embedded with links to the windows where victims of 9/11 worked.

Vineberg believes ThingLink has vast potential for the PR sector because of its measurability, ease of use and ability to include information directly from a client (captions, links to websites) within an image.

“It’s a generational shift in how we interact with images,” he said.

(Roll your mouse icon over the image below to see its embedded content)

   

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How to feature your tagged ThingLink images on Facebook

You are now able to easily create an Interactive Fan Page with with a single Image.

Make an Interactive Fan Page from an image

  • Create an engaging Page experience
  • Feature music, art, videos and e-commerce
  • Promote your business

ThingLink Tabs for Facebook:

  • Tons of tags — Bring images to life with audio, voice, video, and e-commerce tags that can take users everywhere.
  • Interactive Editor –– Our plug-and-play editor let’s you instantly tag images and see the results.
  • Instantly on Facebook — Customize and publish your ThingLink Tab with only a few clicks.
  • Detailed Statistics — Track how users interact with your ThingLink Tab and get detailed campaign reports.

Start creating your interactive ThingLink Tab on Facebook by selecting a plan that fits you.

 

 

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Building the future of entertainment at Hollywood Hack Day

Over the weekend of November 5 and 6, nearly 70 hackers crowded into the Katalyst offices in LA to build the future of the entertainment industry. Along the way, they were visited by Robert Scoble, Ashton Kutcher, Patrick Vlaskovits, D.A. Wallach from Chester French, and many others. ThingLink was happy to sponsor this event, as well as using it to debut our brand new image application development environment.

 

ThingLink inspired a number of hacks that weekend, including rich media tags for Rdio and Polldaddy (see below).

Another developer, who wound up taking the prize for the best use of ThingLink, created a tag where you can record a video. He also created a tag through which you can call to a cell phone (see below).

The ThingLink team also chatted with guys from Spotify, Topspin, RootMusic, SoundCloud and other cool startups like Mashery, Rdio, Rovi, MOG and Tracks.by, getting some new ideas and sharing feedback.

As always, the hack day had plenty of coffee, Red Bull, programming, and even a little controversy (was the Adobe team really presenting a hack or a corporate reel? The world may never know). We’re definitely looking forward to our next hack day and continuing to build great things.

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ThingLink Launches Image Application Development Environment

We are today announcing the launch of our latest innovation, the Image Application Development Environment.  Announced on the eve of Hollywood Hack Day, this initiative will allow users to build branded applications and rich media tags that take advantage of ThingLink’s signature image embedding technology and Image Network.

Until now, users and image owners were required to approach ThingLink for a customized app solution to service their needs. By launching the app development environment, ThingLink is inviting developers to create fun and interesting applications that make interactive images more engaging and relevant.

Here are some of our existing Rich Media Tags and you can now make your own.

“We’re looking to empower developers with tools that engage audiences around images,” commented ThingLink CMO Neil Vineberg. “We also invite corporations and small businesses to build a presence on the ThingLink Image Network by creating branded applications and promotional content for their services.”

Prospective developers should visit www.thinglink.com/developer, where after a simple sign-in and approval process, ThingLink will provide instructions and access to sample code from a custom built app, including performance suggestions and compatibility and design tips.

First announced in June this year, ThingLink has brought a new dimension to images on the web via Rich Media Tags, transforming static images into navigational platforms. From hand-drawn artwork to professional photography, Rich Media Tags can be applied to any image, enabling the embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and many more.

For more information on creating Rich Media Tags or to learn more about opportunities to integrate with ThingLink, visit: www.thinglink.com.

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Salil Wilson – My Journey to ThingLink

By Salil Wilson

On first hearing about ThingLink (a Finnish based tech start up) I have to confess I was less than enthusiastic. Admittedly it was not the best introduction, it was over a meal with no demonstration. Just a good friend leaning forward and eagerly telling me rich media image tagging was going to be the next big thing.

It was one of those awkward moments where you know the person will be disappointed if you don’t respond with equal to or greater than the level of enthusiasm at which the information is being conveyed.

My initial thoughts were “What is rich media tagging?” and, “Why would you want to tag photos anyway?” (If you haven’t guessed I’m one of the 5 remaining people on earth who aren’t active on Facebook.)

I didn’t hear anymore about ThingLink from this fellow for about 2 weeks – he was obviously not fooled by my feigned interest. But, as with all evangalists, he couldn’t resist and sent me a link to the image below.
 

I was fascinated by this apparently quite a famous photo of the original Microsoft staff and all the extra information it contained thanks to ThingLink. I clicked on every single link and got a small sense of how each one of these people went on to live their lives – a little like a school graduation book. The next step for me, as it is for all ThingLink adopters, was to make my first ThingLink(ed) image. So I made one about the World Harmony Run – an event I organize and love.

It was very simple and great of fun. I could easily combine elements that would normally be beyond my reach or take hours of fiddling with html and ThingLink did it in a cleaner more functional and engaging way. (OK I’m not a web developer but neither are 99% of us).

I have since gone on to make quite a few ThingLink (ed) images and info-graphics and am even consulting for ThingLink. You can find many of these images at ThingLink and Learn. Here’s one below I’m quite proud of.

 

 

I continue to be surprised at how remarkably well ThingLink works – many times it does things that exceed my expectations. Just check out how well this Ipad info-graphic meshes with the Itunes rich media tags – I didn’t see that coming.

ThingLink is an idea whose time has come. It brings together many engaging elements of the web, combining them in a way where the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

ThingLink has made me understand what mashup really is – and it is done really elegantly, after all what would you expect from those Finns.

Salil Wilson is Executive Director of the World Harmony Run – a global torch relay dedicated to World Peace. When he’s not running around the world with a torch he consults for ThingLink.

Visit the ThingLink team at the American Association of School Librarians 15th National Conference and ExhibitionBooth #330 – on October 27-30 in Minneapolis, MN.

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ThingLink creates printable online interactive images with NFC tags

Today at Wired 2011 in London we announced the launch of ThingLink Labs; a dedicated environment from which to incubate and productize innovations in the field of image interaction. The launch project for ThingLink Labs is Rich Media Notes, a printable version of ThingLink images with Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled Rich Media Tags that are readable by enabled smartphones and devices.

ThingLink will showcase Rich Media Notes for the first time at Wired 2011 in London on 13th & 14th October in collaboration with famous London-based designer Klaus Haapaniemi, whose installation at the event will showcase NFC-enabled interaction with images and physical objects. Delegates attending Wired 2011 will be given customised Rich Media Notes which, when read by an NFC enabled device, will link through to a purpose-built ThingLink profile image or their page on personal web profile service, About.me. “When images and everyday objects become access points to web content,  the consumption and distribution of online media will change from laptop to mobile devices,” commented Ulla Engeström, CEO of ThingLink. “With Rich Media Notes, we are creating demand for new kinds of enhanced, printable products such as posters, flyers and handouts that carry rich media web content, discoverable through NFC.”

Rich Media Notes will be make it possible to print ThingLink content-embedded images as posters, photos or physical goods – harnessing the best content the web has to offer and encouraging deeper engagement from consumers. A printed image can now contain a song, a video, a blogpost or a link to an online community. Until now NFC has been used primarily in the field of payments, but Rich Media Notes will enable users for the first time to create unique, creative opportunities in the fields of marketing, publishing, advertising, entertainment and education.

“About.me is about bringing together users’ online identities into one place as well as offering a single home for their social media outreach,” said Tony Conrad, co-founder of about.me. “Our collaboration with ThingLink’s Rich Media Notes offers a glimpse into the future of how people will tell and share their own stories through pioneering tech such as NFC.”

First announced in June this year, ThingLink has brought a new dimension to images on the web via Rich Media Tags, transforming static images into navigational platforms. From hand-drawn artwork to professional photography, Rich Media Tags can be applied to any image and already allow the in-image embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Amazon, Etsy and many more.

For the Wired 2011 launch, Rich Media Notes have been created in collaboration with UPM RFID, providers of NFC tags, and TagAge, providers of NFC printing solutions. For more information on Rich Media Notes head over to http://rmn.thinglink.com/

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Gorillaz & Blink182 Roll Out ThingLink Campaigns

Two massive bands both rolled out ThingLink campaigns in the last week — and even though virtually the only thing they have in common is an alt-rock radio airplay, they both demonstrated that ThingLink can help push fan engagement around new albums into overdrive.

For the past ten years, Gorillaz have been one of the most visually and musically inventive bands — so it only made sense that they would carry that spirit into the announcement of their new singles collection. Their label, Parlophone, used a handful of ThingLink embeds throughout the front page of the Gorillaz site to create a version of a scavenger hunt — and the results were off the charts, with almost every visitor clicking through to content at one point.

Blink 182, the beloved pop-punk act that is reuniting for the first time in several years, also used ThingLink to help promote their new album, as well as a contest sponsored by Absolute Punk.  ThingLink creative director Jonas Forth developed the animated cinemagraph of the album cover which first appeared on Absolute Punk, generating such positive feedback that Hypebot wrote it up, and it now appears on Blink 182’s homepage.

When I was on the road last week, as both these implementations were being rolled out, I was pitching ThingLink to artists big and small virtually non-stop. And I finally hit on the beauty of ThingLink — the user is really the one who determines what to make of it. Plenty of artists — hell, plenty of bloggers — can just use ThingLink for fun, to jazz up images, and experiment. I used ThingLink on my personal Tumblr to add videos to pictures of my dog and my favorite beer, just for giggles. But if you want to do something really meaty — animation, puzzles, scavenger hunts — that’s doable as well, and not all that much harder than simply embedding a track or video.

And for other labels — well, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Parlophone and Interscope  released cool campaigns last week, Atlantic the week before; the big question is which label will rise to the challenge next?

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How to connect with ThingLink

Do you have a question, suggestion or are you just curious about what ThingLink is up to? Over the past year we’ve established channels which help you to get in contact with us whenever you want or need to. We have strived to listen to and help each and every one of our users and we will continue doing so. This is how you can reach us:

Facebook and Twitter. On our social networks we post new creatives examples and listen to any problems and suggestions you might have. Feel free to Like and Follow us to keep up to date with the latest.

Get Satisfaction: This is our support forum where you can find answers to most common issues that other users have encountered as well. If you have trouble installing ThingLink on your site, have a suggestion on how we could make the tagging tool better or you think that you’ve found a bug in our system, please submit a comment in our forum and we’ll respond.

ThingLink gallery: In our gallery you will find curated content created with ThingLink. We select the best tagged images for you, in order to show what you can do with our tagging tool and provide you with inspiration to do even better.

ThingLink’s blog: On our blog we post news about new features, hires and clients. If you like our posts, please leave a comment.

YouTube and Flickr: If you want to check out new features, instructions and pictures of ThingLink in action we upload much of our content here.

Discover our channels. Just hover and click.

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