Create Social and Interactive Images With ThingLink

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine then an image tagged with YouTube videos, audio from SoundCloud, tweets, photos from Flickr, songs from iTunes, Wikipedia pages and even links to e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay.

In just a few, painless clicks, ThingLink lets users do just that. After creating an account and logging in, the site lets you easily upload images from Facebook, Flickr, a website or your computer and then tag the pictures with rich media content. You don’t have to leave the page you’re on — all the content is embedded within the photo.

See how news organizations could have used ThingLink with this well-known photograph. (Just hover your mouse over the dots.)

You may already be vaguely familiar with ThingLink. About a year ago, when the site launched the rich media tagging feature, it made headlines in Wired, GigaOm, The Next Web, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

At the time, Paul Sawers of The Next Web Europe wrote, “ThingLink has taken the concept of ‘image as a platform’ and really run with it.”

It is really easy to use ThingLink. After uploading your image of choice, you just click a spot and add a tag. If it’s a Facebook link, for example, ThingLink will automatically categorize the tag as such. All that’s required of the user is the ability to copy and paste links and drag and drop the tag locations onto the image.

Another nice feature about ThingLink is you can easily embed the images you create into any site, such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and other sites. Simply copy and paste the embed code into the HTML part of your site. If you can embed YouTube videos onto your blog, you can embed ThingLink images as well.

The free basic account lets you upload 50 images, create one Facebook page tab and have access to very basic statistics on who is viewing your image. A Plus account, however, is only $5 a month.

A relatively new feature from ThingLink allows the creation of a tab on your Facebook page, turning your page into an interactive, fun creation. The tabs also work with Facebook Timeline. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to activate this feature.

An example of a ThingLink tab on Facebook.

Starting next week, the site will also implement a new image discovery tool. When your image shows up, thumbnails of your other ThingLink creations will also appear, according to a blog post.

This is a pretty inexpensive, easy tool that many newsrooms could implement immediately. Imagine how it could transform a powerful photograph into even more iconic image. If you have a more hyperlocal-oriented site, you could link — where applicable — to local businesses in various images. Perhaps even more useful is the ability to link to previous stories, giving the reader all the context they need without leaving the image (or your site).

What do you think about ThingLink? Has your newsroom used this tool at all?

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