Super Simple Online Tools: Interactive photo

I’m always on the hunt for simple online tools newsrooms can use to enhance their websites. Thinglink fits the bill.

What is it? An online tool that makes photos interactive.

Why it’s cool? You can add all kind of information to an image, including tweets, videos, photos, website links and text. The photo looks like any other until a user puts her mouse over it and ‘Aha!’ all sorts of wonderful additional extra tidbits appear.

How it works? Select create and upload, drag or import a photo


Start plotting points on your photo. Add links to stories, videos, photos, individual tweets.


Pick your icon. There’s one for general posts, tweets, video, Facebook, etc.


Keeping adding icons until you’ve made an interactive photo.


ThingLinks can be embedded within stories on your website by using the “source” button. All you need is the embed code. Here’s how you find it.


** Note for Sun Media journalists, editors: When embedding the code into a simple story, you need to delete part of the above code in order for it to work. Here’s what you need to get rid of: async charset=”utf-8″

Happy interactive video making!


Live tweeting done right: How reporter Shawn Jeffords tweeted for 13 hours and gained 1300 followers

What does it take to live tweet for 13 hours straight? A strong sense of public service, an online audience urging you on, a cellphone charger and a sense of humour. Luckily, Toronto Sun reporter Shawn Jeffords has all of the above.

On Thursday (and well into Friday morning) Jeffords tweeted a 13-hour Ontario Labour Relations Board hearing into whether a planned walkout by the province’s 76,000 elementary school teachers’ was legal and should be allowed to go ahead. He was one of a handful of media who stuck it out overnight and was one of the only ones to tweet consistently for the duration. And he was rewarded. Not only did Jeffords successfully document what happened – his tweets captured by a live blog on the Toronto Sun’s website – he gained more than 1,300 followers and received tons of accolades from grateful parents and school boards for keeping them informed.

In all, he tweeted about 140 times during the meeting and has been mentioned another 310 times (including RTs) over the last two days.
JeffordsI caught up with Shawn this morning to talk about what it took to make it through the night and keep tweeting.

(Full disclosure: I’ve known Shawn for 12 years. We went to J-school together and he worked for me at the St. Catharines Standard. I consider him a friend and a colleague)

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