We’re pretty excited about Reddit Live, which was just announced today! It’s cool for a couple different reasons, one being the thread’s multiple contributors ability to post real-time updates and everyone watching gets them- all without having to refresh.  The new feature also allows you to make your own live thread too.

The other reason we’re excited? Reddit Live uses Cards, which is made by Embedly! The content you want to read about, easily posted to one stream.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use ‘em.

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Posted 20 hours ago by lauraatembedly
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Earlier last week my JSConf talk came out and I was curious to see how it would be watched. It was 25 minutes long- how far would people actually get? I used Embedly’s iFrame to measure the viewer analytics, and shared that link on Facebook. From the resulting heatmap, I could tell that some of my friends on Facebook did actually watch the whole thing. 

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You can do this for any video embedded using Embedly. Without having to do any coding and API integration, here’s how:

1. Log into Embedly, scroll down and include the URL in the code generator. I’m embedding the video Forms. Click Get Embed Code.  

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2. Mark any options and copy the embed code. By default, only you can see the analytics when you are logged in. If you check Public Stats, anyone on your site can see the analytics. You can see an example of public stats on Reddit.

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3. Paste the HTML in your blog.  The video below is embedded with my account, and is measuring viewer analytics. I’ve included public stats, which you can see on hover. 

You’re done! Share your post on Twitter and Facebook and see how people watch it. 

Posted 3 weeks ago by whichlight
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The situation around news and media right now is a bit ridiculous- what seemed like the future of news was pretty scrolling, and the most engaging content is now clickbait. Yet after seeing brilliant interactive stories, dissemination apps, and publications we’re feeling a sense of optimism and opportunity. If you make something compelling, a lot of people will use it, and you will make money.

We organized a hackathon with Future of News at the Media Lab bringing together developers and journalists to think up new ideas, and prototype those that were promising. Each prototype addresses a pain point with our current news mess. Here’s what we found:

1. Support the reader’s voice and opinions beyond the comment box 

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You can use thoughtful callouts that take into account previous reading habits and demographics, and poll reader’s for their opinions around stories. A team from the Guardian built just this with Accio. It’s a quick and simple hack that can easily be integrated.

2. No one is figuring out what a healthy news diet is, and it is important

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Once you measure something, you can improve it. We need tools to measure what we’re reading so we can be thoughtful about our media diet. Newstrition is a chrome extension to monitor what you’re reading and from where. So when you read too much on politics, maybe throw in some articles from the culture section. News sites themselves can adopt such a tool to help suggest articles and build a more thoughtful relationship with readers. 

3. Twitter is not just broadcasting and retweets

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There is an opportunity to build longer relationships with a reader beyond retweets and @-replies on Twitter. News Bingo tests out this idea through a Bingo Twitter bot. Newrooms can create bingo cards around stories and events, and invite users to participate. 

4. Filter bubbles make things boring

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It’s easy to get stuck in a news rut following the same kind of articles and sources. There is a long tail of articles that can be thoughtfully navigated to surface interesting, yet unexpected articles for readers. Atom explores this possibllity through a reader’s twitter feed.

5. There is a ton of open structured data, use it

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Articles are more relevant to readers when they take into account reader context. Datacle focused on location- it provides a simple interface to include geotagged data into news articles. For example, in an article regarding a congressional vote, you can immediately see how your state’s congressman voted. 

6. Journalists need better tools to organize research

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This is especially true as stories are collected on the go. Collater allows writers to collect and organize various media in one location through URLs and annotations. These tools are essential- we can already tell by the popularity of Storify- and we need support for them on mobile.

7. Twitter lists can be powerful news curators 

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When the leading investigators on a story are on Twitter, their links are the best way to stay up to date on a developing story. They’re Watching Me applies this strategy to keep up to date on unfolding news around the NSA. A news outlet could provide a similar tool to allow readers to curate articles shared on Twitter, rendering them with thoughtful, branded design.

8. Mitigate cheap emotional appeal and the culture of fear

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It can be a good idea to read a few lighthearted stories amidst the heavy and negative. Bomb Pop News empowers readers by encouraging them to reflect on how the news is affecting them, and be mindful to balance the kinds of stories they are reading. If there are too many negative stories, clearly that news outlet is missing an important part of the picture.

9. Build conversations within articles

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Medium and Rap Genius popularized inline commenting, so why not try that out in news. After reading an article, conversations can grow and develop inline, providing engagement beyond the article text. InLine applies that within a news sharing service, exploring a new way to build conversations around news articles.

What now?

The discussion around new technologies and journalism has been going on for a while, and Hacking Journalism sought to support it. Within a weekend we saw a range of ideas from passionate journalists and developers that went from pain points to prototypes. Relationships grew from the hackathon collaborations and these prototypes will hopefully inspire a conversation and experiments within newsrooms and media companies. If you are interested in these projects, you can learn more here, or get in touch.

Embedly threw the hackathon because we’ve seen how it can be used alongside powerful storytelling platforms. Without any Embedly specific prize, six projects used the API (mostly through Cards): They’re Watching Me, Hi Neighbor, inLine, Main Street Journal, Collater, and Source Me. We’re thrilled to support this conversation around new technologies and newsrooms.

Here are a few more writeups of the hackathon:

Hacking journalism: 16 cool ways of reinventing the news biz

Hacking the News

4 Ways ‘Hackers’ are Rethinking Journalism 

Posted 1 month ago by whichlight
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The 13 year old in all of us rejoiced when Twitter started supporting GIFS! Yaayyy, but I’m here to crush your dreams, Twitter’s GIFs are actually displayed as looping videos.

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Womp, Womp.

We did a little test, here is the original:

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Here is the Twitter “GIF”.

It appears that on upload, Twitter is converting the GIF to an MP4 and embedding the video instead. Why would they do such a crazy thing? Well, size and control.

Size

GIFs are terrible at compression. The original GIF above is 500kb while the mp4 version is only 100kb. A GIF is literally a sequence of independent images squeezed into the same file. An mp4 video can take advantage of all kinds of fancy compression techniques like keyframes and forward-predictive frames.

If most of your users are on mobile, this is a huge win. Even desktop users will notice better performance on a page with many GIFs.

Control

Pausing a GIF isn’t really possible. There are some tricks to swap out the gif with a static frame, but it’s not built into the browser. Videos allow Twitter to leverage the browser. This means play, pause, and seek, but also cool things like slow-motion. Think your GIF is funny now? Wait til you see it in slow motion.

Cool story, so why is this important?

Now you don’t have to wait an hour for a GIF to load on your phone. Hopefully this technique catches on and we’ll have faster GIF sharing all around.

Specifically for Twitter, I think this leads to future video sharing directly through the app.  Twitter seemed late to the GIF game, but they’re ahead of us all.

Long live the VIF.

Posted 1 month ago by screeley
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It’s been fun browsing r/videos and seeing how people watch what’s posted. Sometimes it can be useful even to make sure you catch the best parts of a video. Here’s a case where that happens. 

This video was posted today and looks pretty cool. image

Opening up the time heatmap in analytics, there is a drop off at a minute, but then an uptick at the end. 

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While watching the video a few things become clear. At about a minute viewers get a good idea of his climbing technique. There’s not much more to learn, so viewers leave the video.

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If we go to the end, we see there’s actually quite the finale. He drops down. This is reflected in the time heatmap by the blip at the end.

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If you were a viewer and you saw these analytics, you wouldn’t miss the ending. If you were posting this video, you may change the title to make sure viewers know something big happens at the end. You can explore the analytics yourself in the Reddit embed here.

Embedly Analytics help you find what viewers are paying attention to, so you can make sure to surface your most compelling content.

Posted 1 month ago by whichlight
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We’re excited to share our latest product to help you build a more engaging site: Embedly Analytics.  For this release, we teamed up with Reddit to take a look at how videos are watched on their site. See some of the fun insights we uncovered on the Reddit blog.

This post will give you a quick intro on our analytics tools.

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When you post a YouTube video on your site, you really don’t know how many people actually hit play and how far they watch.

With Embedly Analytics, you can now see these stats.  Analytics are measured for any of the supported providers, including Vine, SoundCloud, Instagram, and Vimeo when the embed is served from the Embedly API.  

After logging in, an in-embed overlay appears over posted embeds on your site.  Click it to see the Embedly Analytics. 

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Here you can find the realtime and weekly stats for the embed.  The stats take into account the funnel of visits (when the page loads), hovers, and plays.  The weekly stats helps identify recent bursts. Hover over the graph to see the specific funnel stats over time.

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Furthermore, see the distribution of views over the timeline of the video on the heatmap.  This is fairly powerful in seeing what people are actually watching.  Perhaps no one makes it to the funny moment 25 seconds in, and miss the point of the post. You should highlight to start there. Maybe you notice a burst of activity in the middle- that could be the perfect gif opportunity. 

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You can pull up the dashboard view from there, or see it in App.  This gives you an overview of all of your embedded media analytics. You can use this to find out which videos are played most of the way through, and which ones are abandoned immediately.

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It’s not just about finding your most popular posts- it’s finding out what is most engaging.  The same embed posted on different pages can have different results based on the target audience.  If a video has a low play count, people are not enticed to actually click play- find a better title.  If people abandon the video immediately, then it isn’t actually delivering anything substantial. Perhaps it will be more successful with a different audience. Explore these relationships with the funnel and duration analytics for embedded media. 

Embedly Analytics are powerful on popular media sites, and sites with lots of user generated content. If your site has a custom video player, Embedly can measure these analytics if there is an API for the media player following the playerjs spec.  You can get in touch with us about this as well. 

Measure reader attention to inform a more engaging site with Embedly Analytics.  

Posted 1 month ago by whichlight
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We’ve released an all-new iOS client library for the Embedly APIs. The library is available through cocapods, so all you need to get started is one line in a podfile:

pod “embedly-ios”

This library makes it easy to include the entire family of Embedly APIs (Embed, Extract, Display) in your iOS app, allowing you to easily embed content from all over the web into your app.

Because data usage is an important factor in mobile apps, we’ve made it easy to integrate Embed and Extract with Display to provide optimized images at sizes that make sense for mobile.

To get started and for documentation, see the code on github.

Posted 1 month ago by embedly-andy
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Long before bloggers begged readers to share posts on Twitter and Facebook with branded badges and widgets, there was another plea: Subscribe to my blog! While the call to arms was simple, its visual manifestation was diverse.

Across the web, a sea of custom buttons from Bloglines, Feedster, Yahoo and others asked folks to subscribe to RSS feeds using their service.

Somehow, the orange icon you see above has become synonymous with RSS and news feeds. With our very own Embed button on our minds, we’ve been wondering just how this happened. We’ve done a bit of Internet Archaeology to find out.

Read More

Posted 2 months ago by alexis-santos
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We had such a great time at Media Hack Day, we thought why not throw a news hackathon here in Boston. On June 7-8, journalists and developers will head to the MIT Media Lab for Hacking Journalism.

There is so much opportunity for new products in the media and publishing space, but figuring out what will succeed is no easy task. This hackathon will bring together journalists, developers, and designers to build out ideas to reshape the future of news.

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The focus of the hackathon will be on mobile.  What are new tools that will be useful to create content, share it, and consume it on mobile?  With the release of products like NYT Now and growth of Vox Media, it is clear there is opportunity in this space.

We’re partnering with some great organizations and companies for the hackathon, including Hacks/Hackers, the Online News Association, Bloomberg, and Twitter.

You can learn more about the hackathon here, and sign up here.  Stay tuned for updates as the hackathon approaches.

Embedly recently released Cards and the Button, and since then we’ve been building tools to help journalists and bloggers make their content more engaging.  It’s exciting to be in this space, and we’re looking forward to cultivating ideas around the future of content through Hacking Journalism.

News logo by Edward Boatman.

Posted 2 months ago by whichlight
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Just a quick update, we added support for App Links through the Extract API. For those who don’t know, App Links are:

An open, cross-platform solution for app-to-app linking that gives you the tools you need to expose deep links in your app or to link out to others.

Basically, they are a derivative of Open Graph tags to define deep links for mobile platforms. We have integrated them as a new property “app_links” that is an array of entries. Here’s how all the types look in the response:

"app_links": [
	{
		"type": "ios",
		"url": "applinks://docs",
		"app_store_id": "12345",
		"app_name": "App Links"
	},
	{
		"type": "iphone",
		"url": "applinks://docs",
		"app_store_id": "12345",
		"app_name": "App Links"
	},
	{
		"type": "ipad",
		"url": "applinks://docs",
		"app_store_id": "12345",
		"app_name": "App Links"
	},
	{
		"type": "android",
		"url": "applinks://docs",
		"package": "org.applinks"
		"class": "org.applinks.DocsActivity",
		"app_name": "App Links"
	},
	{
		"type": "web",
		"url": "http://applinks.org/documentation",
		"should_fallback": false
	},
]

So for example, a Tumblr blog looks like this:

"app_links": [
  {
    "url": "tumblr://x-callback-url/blog?blogName=gracemckendryart", 
    "type": "ios", 
    "app_name": "Tumblr", 
    "app_store_id": "305343404"
  }, 
  {
    "url": "tumblr://x-callback-url/blog?blogName=gracemckendryart", 
    "type": "android", 
    "app_name": "Tumblr", 
    "package": "com.tumblr"
  }
]

GoodReads:

"app_links": [
  {
    "url": "com.goodreads.https://book/show/930", 
    "type": "ios", 
    "app_store_id": "355833469", 
    "app_name": "Goodreads"
  }
],

and Hulu:

"app_links": [
  {
    "url": "hulu://w/421667", 
    "type": "android", 
    "package": "com.hulu.plus"
  }
],

We will be putting up some more documentation soon, but that’s all we got for now.

Happy Deep Linking!

Posted 2 months ago by screeley
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