Cancer Research UK embraces ThingLink technology for its recent Race for Life fundraiser

We’ve recently been involved in a fantastic initiative with Cancer Research UK (CRUK), where the creative harnessing of ThingLink, Facebook and Spotify has helped the UK’s largest charity to deliver a truly engaging, image-based competition to help raise money for ‘Race for Life’.

Race for Life is the largest women-only fundraising event in the UK – where women of all ages and fitness levels come together to walk, jog or run to help beat cancer. Working in partnership with Sony BMG, they’ve released a compilation of energetic, feel good hits designed to provide the soundtrack to a participant’s training regime. To support the release we helped them create a Facebook competition tab, where we located a puzzle illustration with 10 song titles hidden inside – can you spot them?

 

The competition was promoted to the 232,000 fans on the page – who were asked to submit their answers to an email address on the tab. The competition received hundreds of entries.   Once the competition was closed – we used ThingLink technology to turn the static image into one embedded with Spotify Rich Media Tags, so the competition answers would be revealed when anyone scrolled over it to reveal the 10 hotspots.

 

Alone the picture competition works as a great piece of buzz promotion for the record, but with the Spotify Rich Media Tags embedded it provides deeper engagement and a ‘try before you buy’ experience of the soundtrack.

You can check it out live on the page here.

This initiative is a really strong example of how new technology can be used in creative, combinative ways and utilized to deliver effective, powerful fundraising and engagement campaigns such as this one.

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Our summer surprise: TED Talks video tags

The summer sun has given our developers an extra boost and we have a sunny surprise for our users and the organizers of the TED conferences. You can now create TED Rich Media Tags with Thinglink!

Just insert TED talk URLs straight into a tag’s link field and it will turn it into a video tag much in the same way as our previous YouTube and Vimeo video tags. We love the innovation and inspiration TED brings to the world and we want to make it easy for everyone to embed and share TED videos on their images.

Follow the following steps to create your own TED image tags and help spread the videos around the world:

1. Take any TED talk URL such as this one: http://www.ted.com/talks/rebecca_mackinnon_let_s_take_back_the_internet.html

2. Insert it into the tag’s link field:

3. Here is the result:

Remember that the TED tag is only one of many ThingLink Rich Media Tags and all of them are as easy to set up. Visit ThingLink now to set up your own account.

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ThingLink: Engaging Students in Learning and Discovery

“I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. I wanted to empower them to have a voice through creating, collaborating, and connecting,” writes Shannon Miller, a librarian, teacher, and technology specialist in her blog, Van Meter Library Voice.

ThingLink turns images into a platform for rich media. Educators and students can take any photo and add video and audio clips that play inside the image. You can also add Wikipedia links, Flickr images, annotations, and include social touch points like Twitter and Facebook.

Images now become a platform for creating, collaborating and connecting, because ThingLink images are far more engaging than static jpgs with viewers clicking through to content as high as 50% of the time.

Lets take an example from one of the key moments, or maybe The Key Moment in American history; The Declaration of Independence. John Trumbull’s famous painting –pictured below– is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. However, it’s rich with taggable content, and a great example of how ThingLink can be used as a fun participant/community driven educational tool.

“Tools like ThingLink “have potential for increasing our own productivity, for enhancing our teaching, for organizing our information resources and/or for helping students learn,” says Donna Baumbach who publishes WebTools4u2Use, a popular wiki for school library media specialists.

A large quantity of historical imagery is available for educational use without charge. Using images in education is a great way to get students to interact and enhance peer-to-peer learning. Let us say students in groups of two or more each choose an image filled with taggable content, research the image and tag it accordingly during a set period of time. They can then give the image over to another group who can further explore the image and learn about what the previous group created in the image. In the process a great deal is gained; learning to do research, using technology, spurring team work and last but not least, digesting the educational content in the image at hand.

 

Teaching and learning through images

Returning to the image above; as you can see, the tags have been used to virtually demonstrate not only the people behind the Declaration, but also provide the viewer with other rich media content, demonstrating there is only the limit of creativity. Not only does ThingLink make your teaching more fun, it helps establish two-way communication inside classrooms. Everyone can be a teacher and a learner with ThingLink. It can drive students into a concise, creative group, and help spur rich ideas and new interest by the dozens.

To use ThingLink, educators have to simply connect their website or blog. Tumblr blogs work great with ThingLink and they are easy, free and fast to set up. ThingLink tagging tool is provided at no cost, with an embeddable code to make all or individual images taggable. The installation takes a few minutes and is done by following the easy install instructions. You can also close and open images for tagging, i.e. enable anyone or no-one else but you to tag your images.

 

ThingLink Freemium account enables these features:

1) On-site tag editor: ThingLink tag editor lets you define interactive hotspots inside an image — from a THING (an object, a person, or a place) to a LINK (a site with more information, a blog post, or anywhere you like). The editor works on your own enabled site as long as you are logged in to ThingLink.

2) Easy Sharing: ThingLink makes images shareable: anyone can share a favorite image via Twitter, Facebook and email, and embed them on websites and blogs with tags.

3) Image community: ThingLink provides real-time statistics on user interaction with images. We measure image and tag-specific views, hovers, and clicks. This helps you evaluate the successfulness of interacting with you participants, i.e. students.

Thinglink could be a good way to have students take group blogging to a new level. Students working on a group blog could upload images then work together to add more information to the blog post in the form of image tags,” suggests Richard Byrne in his popular blogFree Tech for Teachers.

 

Lets sum up why ThingLink is so great for education:

  • Free of charge for educators;
  • Easy and fun to use;
  • Involves two-way communication;
  • Spreads information through social networks;
  • Everyone can be a teacher and a learner;
  • Community- and participant-driven; and
  • Can be used for either an ongoing forum or one-time exchange.

ThingLinktag, explore, and learn.

How could you and your students benefit from using ThingLink in your educative work? Here is an evolving document with tips and interesting reflections from teachers using the tagging tool in their work. Thank you @AuntyTech for creating the document and engaging our community.

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ThingLink reveals new Flickr import tool for easy rich media image tagging

As some of our power users may already have noticed, you can now import your Flickr photos onto your ThingLink dashboard to be easily tagged and shared. Instead of single tagging images with URLs, you can now import your entire Flickr photostream into ThingLink, streamlining the process of tagging your images. This opens up new opportunities for Flickr users who want to enhance their images with rich media tags such as YouTube videos, music from Soundcloud as well as Twitter and Facebook profiles. Importing your photos is an effortless process. Below is a quick 4-step guide to get you going:

 

 

Step 1: Log into Thinglink from our homepage

 

Step 2: In the dashboard, click on the “Import from Flickr” right below the chart.

 

Step 3: Enter you flickr user name

 

Step 4: Click on the images you wish to import to Thinglink and after that click the “Import selected images” button.

 

Step 5: The images have now been imported to your dashboard where you can tag and share them.

 

We hope this aids you in finding content to tag more easily. Naturally you can still enable your entire site with ThingLink, automatically making all of your site’s images taggable.

 

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ThingLink Launches Rich Media Tags, Bringing Social Context and Content to Every image

Interacting with Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Spotify, Vimeo, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, Twitter is now possible from within a single image.

Our free ThingLink tagging tool is nearly one year old. During the first half of this year we put some effort in making it stable and easy to use, and to be perfectly honest with you, we think we have succeeded quite well.

During the second half of the year we have invested in making our tags more interesting. Previously, and mostly still, they have been links that directs the viewer to another site. Now, with this launch, our tags can transform into people’s favorite services that can be consumed on the image without having to leave the page. This is a new powerful form of reader engagement and conversion that you will be able to monitor in real time.

So from today, web publishers, brands and bloggers can make their images more engaging with our Rich Media Tags for Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Spotify, Vimeo, Wikipedia, SoundCloud and Twitter; each of which can be used to tell the story behind anything. Here are some examples that have inspired us. Happy tagging!

 

 

 

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Track how your your tagged images spread

We have a nice little update for you that many have been asking for. One of ThingLink’s core features is the possibility to embed tagged images anywhere on the web. Embeddable features have always been a useful addition to other services such as YouTube, Flickr and Soundcloud, enabling the dynamic spread of great content across blogs or other websites. ThingLink now enables you to track all of the places where your images have been embedded, allowing you to see who is using your images and where.

The feature is located on ThingLink’s dashboard above each of your images, but naturally if the image hasn’t been embedded elsewhere there is only one location (in the example below you would only see the URL http://lovegolf.tumblr.com). We believe that the updated embed feature opens up new perspectives for ThingLink’s users that want to either launch campaigns and track them in real time or just see how their images are spreading around the world.

Now if you haven’t tried the embed feature yourself, you can try it out by hovering the top left corner and selecting embed image. This gives you a snippet of code which anyone can embed on any site to make your tagged image appear. The best thing is that if you have links or tagged media in your image, the links and media still point to the place you specified regardless of where the image is embedded.

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ThingLink expert comment: Tools for Your Band

We invited tech public relations guru and musician Neil Vineberg to reflect upon his work with ThingLink and the benefits the tagging tool has for bands and music agencies. Enjoy.

:::

As an indie artist with a #1 world music CD, “Sacred Love,” I know first-hand the challenges faced by artists seeking to successfully promote music and engage fans online.

Do it yourself musicians today need know social media, digital rights management, distribution, touring and other fields of expertise to really compete. What’s exciting is that many of the tools and platforms now available to musicians allow them to operate their brand just like a record label.

The challenge for artists remains knowing the nuances of these often complex tools, how they work and and how they might best integrate together. That’s why I was honored to represent ThingLink on the Tools for Your Band panel at the recent San Francisco MusicTech Summit with J. Sider from RootMusic, Jaunique Sealey from Atom Digital, Josh Builder from The Orchard, Christopher LaRosa from YouTube and moderator Jolie O’Dell from Mashable.

My colleagues and I spoke about platforms and successful promotion strategies. I also shared my perspective as an artist and how I used some of the tools in my tool box.  Most artists I talked to agreed that photos are probably their most valuable marketing and branding tool, next to their actual music. So imagine if you could make your photos 10 to 50 times more engaging with fans?

That’s where ThingLink came into the conversation. We turn images into a platform for smart, in-image tags to your music, video, social media touch points, fan site, band site and points of purchase.  Everywhere you want a fan to go to experience your music, can be added INSIDE an image. So the image is much more than just a really great asset for a band. It’s now an interactive engagement tool. And one of the most powerful ones in your took box.

When your creative assets are bundled inside your photos, you’ll see fans engaging, because we also give you a social dashboard to track image views, hovers and clicks. And you’re likely to see click-through-rates that will be music to your ears.

After you set up an account at ThingLink, RT me @nvineberg and maybe we can feature you in our music gallery.

 

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Photographer of the month: Markus Henttonen

As a great fan of professional photography, ThingLink has teamed up with Viewmasters, one of the best Scandinavian photo agencies, to introduce outstanding photographers each month. This means from now on our front page features photos by new artists who will tell the story behind their images.

It is our belief that the primary benefit of image tagging is to enrich the viewer’s browsing experience, not to fill it with advertisement. A nice example of this kind of rich browsing is the discovery of details and secrets behind professional photography.

This month on we’re featuring images by photographer Markus Henttonen, who we asked to select three of his favorite shots, and tag them with information about what is going on in the images and what was his inspiration.

Markus Henttonen
Markus’ interest in photography started with skateboarding, out of a need for better images of a passion he loved, and he learned the craft from the bottom up. His studies at the Turku Arts Academy was followed by stints at different agencies and he now works a freelancer photographer. He has travelled and resided in Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona as well as in Finland working as a photographer for both editorial and commercial assignments, while also focusing on personal projects. His series, Night Time Stories, got second prize at the International Biennale of Photography in Russia in 2009, and he has been nominated for the Fotofinlandia Prize 2011.

What inspires you?
“For me the world is a confined space, in which there exists different visual rhythms and compositions. I always start with the location and then try to find the models for it. It is the environment and how people find their place in it that is interesting to me.”

What are your views on in-image tagging?
“It is interesting, since you get more information about the photo and it can be used in versatile ways. Of course it could be distracting on some images but it does contribute to them.”

Markus tagged three of his favorite images:

Rooftop Party, 2008 from the Night Time Stories series

 

Platja d´es Codolar, 2004 from the To Be On View series

 

Wall # 1 from the New York series

 

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Today’s release: ThingLink Twitter tags!

Now you can really make your images work for you – and for your friends! The new ThingLink Twitter tag lets you tag people in images with their Twitter account. What a neat way to know more about the person in the photo and get social!

Think about all the portrait/promotional/conference/seminar/party/any other photos that people like to browse after an event. You can remember faces, yeah, that was an interesting person but what was her name? With our new Twitter tag, you can enable Twitter-follow right from your images.

How does it work?
1) Make sure you have signed up and added the ThingLink tagging tool on your site,

2) Copy-paste a Twitter profile url into the ThingLink tag editor, and you’re done! The person’s name, profile image, and a follow option appears on your image.

The feature is automatically activated for all users and you’ll see the result immediately. Naturally ThingLink also makes all existing Twitter tags interactive, so there is no need to update them.

Here we are:

Image credit: Kai Widell

What we think is cool is that you can also leave your images open for people to tag themselves. This is handy if you you don’t know who the people in the images are or if you for example want to identify people in historic photographs (we were surprised to notice that several historical persons are still tweeting). Anyhow, here is an other example: organizers (not all of them) of the recent Summit at Sea conference.

Image credit: Elliot Bisnow

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Collaborative editing for user-generated images: 7DayPic enables ThingLink image tagging

This week’s feature release enables collaborative editing of tagged images for entire websites. The idea for this feature came from Julio Castillo who runs an image sharing website 7DayPic. As the name indicates, the service lets you host and share images for 7 days. One day Julio emailed us and asked: “I have an image-hosting service, and would like to try enabling ThingLink tagging for my users. Is that possible?”

We thought this was a great idea, and a first step towards enabling image tagging for community sites. In this release the feature appears in its simplest form: upload an image, tag it with ThingLink’s in-image tags and share it with the world.

Examples of use cases:

1) party/event images
Share photos of your party and invite your friends to tag them. Who is in the picture? What is happening? Who is wearing what? Don’t worry, these image will not be around forever!

2) short-term campaigns
Creating a 7-day campaign site has never been this easy! Just upload your image to 7DayPic, tag it and share it. This can be used for a conference, product launch or a music event.

3) education
A biology home assignment for 5th grade students: identify plants using digital image archives.

Try it out for yourself by using one of the many apps that 7DayPic features. Be creative, crazy and wild. Remember that the images only last seven days.

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