Tag Archives: news

GUEST POST: Thinglink: A Tool for Journalists That Journalists Should Actually Use

By Stacey Decker

It’s a premise familiar to online journalists: There’s a new tool for creating interactives. It’s sleek and it has the potential to increase reader engagement. Fast forward 6 months and you can’t even remember your login information to get on the site. (Let’s hope you know your mother’s maiden name.)

Online tools are a lot like real tools that way—some just collect dust. In modern newsrooms, where journalists are strapped for time, new forms of storytelling need to have a high impact, but a low barrier to entry. ThingLink has those elements. For us at Education Week, it’s a useful resource … and one that we actually use.

Why We Use Thinglink

There are a few complex features of ThingLink that are especially impressive. The interface is extremely user-friendly. Thinglink is integrated with other platforms we already use, like YouTube and Soundcloud. Thinglink provides publishers with a lot of useful analytics about images and viewer behavior, including hovers and clicks. And the site has an engaged community.

But the real beauty of Thinglink is its simplicity. It’s easy to conceptualize a story that works in this format. There aren’t any prerequisites to begin using the tool, other than a good idea. And that good idea gives back. Embed a Thinglink on your site and you can take create an immersive experience on any page.

How We Use Thinglink

At Education Week, we have two main uses for Thinglink:

1. Narrative Storytelling

When using Thinglink to tell a story, we let our photography take the lead. The context, links, and additional material we layer on ties everything together. In this example (now with more than 4,000 views), images, text, and audio, converge to reveal the complexities of arming educators:

2. Infographics and Resource Multimedia Thinglink can be helpful to journalists looking for interesting ways to present data, information, and tips and tricks. In our most popular Thinglink to date (with almost 20,000 views), we used the tool to show our audience of educators how to teach students to vet research materials:

Three Tips for Journalists

If I’ve convinced you to try Thinglink, here’s some helpful advice:

1. Look at what other publishers are doing.

Plenty of newspapers—international, national, and local—are using Thinglink to show off their front pages, section fronts, and $126 billion dollar magazine covers. Others have gotten more inventive. The Washington Post partnered with Thinglink on their coverage of the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The Guardian has used Thinglink to layer videos and archival material on top of infographics. Mashable’s used it to make a holiday gift guide. And Discovery Communications has worked with Thinglink to use the tool as a way to deliver advertising.

2. Look at what everybody else is doing.

Commercial outfits like Home Depot, State Farm, and Groupon are using Thinglink to share tips and promote products and services. Thinglink’s unaffiliated users are arguably the most innovative, using the medium to enhance posters, illustrations, maps, and historical photos.

3. Experiment and Edit.

The best way to get acquainted with Thinglink is to upload an image and start tagging. (If you want to do this in private, change your image visibility to “unlisted” until you’ve got your image the way you want it.) Look for additional media (videos, audio, photos, tweets, etc.) to make your images richer. But don’t overdo it; tags shouldn’t overwhelm your image. In the same vein, keep tag descriptions short. And think about the order of your tags. In the end, your Thinglink should service your reader.

Bonus Tip: Get the browser plugin. (It’s a huge time saver.)

I look forward to seeing more of the creative and complex ways newsrooms and publishers put this tool to work for them.


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Stacey Decker is Online News Editor at Education Week (www.edweek.org), America’s source for news and opinion on K-12 education issues.

 

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ThingLink: Upgrade to our Small Business Premium Starter Package: Now Self-Serve

If you’re a startup, a small-to-medium sized business, a not-for-profit, a political action committee, an indie record label, a college, a small publisher or a professional educator interested in using ThingLink’s premium features, now you can upgrade online to our Small Business Premium Starter Package.

For as little as $250 you get an annual account license with:

  • 50,000 Views — Add more views as you need them.
  • Unlimited Images — Post an unlimited number of images to your account.
  • Multi-User – Invite multiple team members and colleagues into your group/channel to create, distribute and manage images.
  • Make Images Public, Private, Unlisted — Set a preference for each image and control views – from public to private to unlisted.
  • Advanced Dashboard — Get detailed metrics on how your images and content perform, and metrics for web and social channels where your images are shared.
  • Personalized Icons — Upload company logos and graphics to customize your images.
Premium Small Business includes comprehensive performance metrics on each image.

Premium Small Business includes comprehensive performance metrics on each image.

 

Upgrade to Premium Small Business today and start driving higher engagement for your images on web pages and social channels.

Questions? Write Sales@ThingLink.com.

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ThingLink Expands Publisher Ad Network with Discovery Communications and Flite

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ThingLink and Discovery Communications, the world’s #1 nonfiction media, have announced a partnership for deploying ThingLink-powered interactive images and display ads across the digital destinations for Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and other networks in their portfolio.

To enhance the partnership, Discovery, ThingLink, and Flite announced an integration of ThingLink inside Flite’s Ad Studio. Flite publishers like Discovery, as well as advertisers, agencies and brands with ThingLink premium accounts, can now deploy ThingLink-powered rich media display ads for desktop and mobile through Flite’s ad server platform.

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Discovery is driving digital advertising innovation by utilizing Thinglink’s interactive tagging capabilities to enhance their content and to deliver value for partners. By using custom-designed images, Discovery can tell more compelling creative stories that offer clients and brands the chance to integrate more seamlessly around sponsorship initiatives or custom-produced programs.

Key to their strategy is organically driving views and engagement beyond traditional advertising techniques through SEO and increased fan engagement that extends to social connections.  Discovery will strategically target these new rich media ads to compliment their image-based editorial content thereby creating a cohesive user experience that feels very integrated and blurs the line between content and traditional ad spaces.

ThingLink’s Premium platform enables publishers to serve 3rd party content over images. Publishers can use custom graphical icons on ThingLink images and build proprietary in-image applications for shopping, content marketing, and social connection. ThingLink’s real-time metrics allow for invaluable data collection with click-through-rates that continually outperform standards. ThingLink images are also viewable across social channels and web pages and shareable to social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.  Four of the top ten newspaper publishers and ten of the top fifty global brands use ThingLink for creating and sharing interactive images.  ThingLink publisher partners also include CBS Interactive and New York Magazine.

Flite empowers their publisher and brand clients to easily publish brand assets and messaging directly into their paid media. Flite has an expanding library of third party ad components, which allow clients to easily bring in content from providers such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and more. With the added integration of ThingLink, Flite continues to offer interactive functionality within display advertising for both clients and partners.

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ThingLink Mobile: Now with Image on Image

ThingLink Mobile, our iOS app, is constantly evolving and here’s a brand new feature for you. In addition to the ability to add video, text and @twitter IDs to your interactive images, we’ve added the ability to add image on image. Now you can tag a photo with images from your photo gallery.   This enables you to tell a deeper story through pictures like the one below, which was  created with an iPhone and ThingLink’s Mobile app.

Journalists, teachers, students, event bloggers and  iReporters can make full use of the new feature when creating interactive ThingLink images. Now you can tell a deeper story and capture fuller moments. Here’s my story about a Blackbird which had created a nest in an unusual place to feed her young ones.

HOW TO BUILD IT: Start out by taking or selecting the image on which you would like to overlay your other images. I had this photo with bikes on it so I started with that to tell my story.

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Tap anywhere on the image to add a tag and select which kind of tag you would like to make. We’re doing image on image so head over to your gallery by clicking on “Choose from gallery”.

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Pick the image you would like to add to the image as a tag.

image_3

 

As usual you can add a text tag.

image

 

Add a few more tags, either using text, video or images, and then you’re done.

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The image is now shareable to social channels, and browsable either in the app or online at thinglink.com.

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How are you using ThingLink Mobile?

 

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ThingLink Updates Editor with Search and Preview

Today we are happy to share a major improvement to the image editor on our web platform at ThingLink.com.Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 1.34.17 PM

You can now use our search functionality to find wonderful content for your images.

Your search will query content at Etsy, SoundCloud, Amazon, ThingLink pictures, YouTube and Vimeo.

Run your search, click on an item you want to feature in your image, save tag, and it’s added to your image with a preview so you can see what it looks like when hovered.

As always you can add a tag description of up to 1500 characters and change the icon to a standard one for free user accounts or a custom one for premium user accounts.

If you want your company’s products featured in ThingLink Search, please contact our business development team.

 

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ThingLink Launches ThingLink Mobile –Interactive Image Creation for iPhone and iPad

TL mobile logoTake picture + add videos + add text + share

ThingLink today launched its free mobile app, ThingLink Mobile, available for download via the iTunes store, ThingLink Mobile is the first iOS app to let users create interactive images with video players and text instantly embeddable into pictures taken with their camera. The free app for the iPhone and iPad creates interactive images that are shareable to Twitter and Facebook, and are designed to live within the platforms themselves.

 ThingLink’s web-based app has been used by major publishers and advertisers to increase engagement with their content. The Washington Post was the first news outlet to use a pre-release version of the ThingLink Mobile app, creating interactive images of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

tl_iPad_screen_A “ThingLink Mobile has one goal: to give more meaning to your camera images, allowing them to instantly come alive in new ways,” said CEO and founder of ThingLink, Ulla Engeström. “As a storytelling tool, ThingLink Mobile unleashes creative ways to capture deeper moments. It also brings the ability to microblog within images to anyone with a smartphone.”

Even in the beta version, users have found interesting uses for the app including: travel images with details of exotic meals, images of newlyweds with the first dance from the wedding embedded into an image, birthdays that come to life with video, and second hand sellers using videos and notes to illustrate the details of the items they’re retailing.

When users download ThingLink Mobile and sign up, they have a free channel for their images at ThingLink.com. Within ThingLink, users can add additional apps (tags) to their images with content from: SoundCloud, Spotify, Google Maps, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites. Those images are instantly shareable to Tumblr, Pinterest, Google!+, Facebook, Twitter, Edmodo and email.

ThingLink’s web-based platform has long been popular among advertisers and publishers for its ability to engage readers and encourage participation. ThingLink Mobile will bring that experience and ability to create compelling personal content to the individual user. People are invited to download the app to make their own interactive images.

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ThingLink Celebrates Election Day – Now Go Vote!

Election day in the U.S. is almost here, and we’re celebrating the right to vote with more awesome ThingLink images. Also read our Oct 25th post.

Want to add your voice to the post-election conversation? Make any photo, graphic or infographic ‘touchable” with voice, video and other content. Record a sound message at SoundCloud.com, tag it to any photo, graphic or infographic, and share your image on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks to Susan Oxnevad, Dawn Megli, John, Anna, MadelineS, Richard Hudak, and NKulowiec.

Electing a President (by Susan Oxnevad)

 

Battleground States (by Dawn Megli)

 

Obama Versus Romney on Religion (by MadelineS)

 

Corporations are People (by Richard Hudak)

 

Iowa Caucus (by nkulowiec) – a classic from the Republican primary.

Want to share your ThingLink election image? Tweet us @ThingLink.

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Everyday life in a startup

It is fun to work in a startup.

Today, local Finnish television came to shoot an interview of our CEO and a quick view of our team.

We enjoyed their visit and tried to look our best!

 

 

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ThingLink unveils image icons for creative storytelling

 

We at ThingLink are all about fun and creative ways to tell and discover stories.  As much as we love black and white dots, we decided it was time to give you something more to play with. To your delight and inspiration, we are now introducing new image icons that will make tagging so much fun! There are birds, hearts, triangles, question marks, and this is only the beginning! See the new image icons used for the history of London’s subway and in this cool family photo.

Check out the new icons and make something fun!

 

Suggest new tag icons!

What symbols, colors, or shapes would you like to use to tag your images? Tell us and we will listen. Send your idea to social@thinglink.com, and our designer Palash will work hard to deliver new sets for you. Tell us about the icon you want to see!

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New this week: Email sharing and improved Facebook sharing

As we announced a few weeks ago ThingLink allows you to easily share your tagged images on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks to our active community,  we noticed soon that the Facebook sharing is not working as smoothly as it could, because the thumbnail that appeared besides the shared link on FB seemed to be any random image from the same page – and not necessarily the one indicated in the link.

To solve this, we built our own Facebook application that shows the shared image in the wall post. You can also add your own comment above the image.

 

We also added our sharing panel one of the most common ways of communicating: email. Email sharing allows longer messages and serves those who prefer not to comment images via Twitter or Facebook.

ThingLink is nicely on a roll and we are developing new feature ideas daily. Remember to let us know what features would be useful to you, and what you would like to improve. Also, we are always happy to hear what you think about our existing features so please visit our community forum and have your say or send it to info@thinglink.com.

 

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