Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites - Social Media Explorer
Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites
Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites
by
Jason Falls
Jason Falls

Adding context to one’s web browsing or reading experience is as old as the web itself. The easiest activation of context is the hyperlink. If you want to know more about, say, Bruce Springsteen, and the author of the article takes the time to add a hyperlink to the Bruce Springsteen bio on Wikipedia, as I did here, the article offers more context and, thus, a more enriching experience.

But adding links takes time for the author. Not just time to add the code or use the convenient WYSIWYG link adder, but to find the right article, website or resource to use as context. It also means that the website visitor will have to leave your page (or at least look at the contextual content in a new window) which takes the focus off your blog or website.

Zemanta, one of my favorite blogging tools, took a step toward solving half of that problem with their tool. It offers up one-click link options to various keywords presented in your copy. Often, it will offer option to link the words, “Bruce Springsteen,” to the Wikipedia page or perhaps even The Boss’s website. That, coupled with Zemanta’s other tools, which I’ve written about here, make it very useful for bloggers.

But now the other half of that equation – taking traffic and focus away from your blog or website – has been solved. Now, using a plugin for your blogging software or content management system, you can offer up context, including images, videos and other multimedia, via hyperlink-like functionality, but right there on your website without losing visitors.

Image representing Apture as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Apture is an amazing new plugin that you can add to WordPress, Blogger, Moveable Type or Typepad blogs, or customize the functionality for different content management systems. It allows you to add Zemanta-like contextual links, but brings that content to your website in a pop-up window. Go ahead and click on or roll over any of the following: Bruce Springsteen in concert; Pittsburgh Pirates spring training; Kipp Bodnar and Wayne Sutton’s Social Web podcast.

Or try this one on for size: When I link to someone’s Twitter stream, like say, @LizStrauss, the tool brings up Liz’s stream in the pop-up without you ever having to leave Social Media Explorer. You can immediately see what someone is talking about on Twitter. If you’re blogging about a certain conference or topic with a hashtag, say, #sxsw, your visitors can see the latest in that conversation with a click.

(Click on a few of these links to experience it. Leave the window open if you want or close it out.)

You never leave SME. You also get a more contextual experience around this post and have a plethora of multimedia available to you in your visit here. While I will say I don’t like the roll-over-enabled pop-ups, it’s still pretty impressive. I’d like for the roll-over pop-ups to go away if I roll off, or just have the pop-ups only appear if I click. But that’s my personal preference. Perhaps Apture will add a setting (I didn’t see one) to enable that preference per user.

(For those of you with a not-so-tech-savvy audience, it makes you look like a web wizard or big-time publishing house.)

Speaking of big-time publishing houses, Apture is currently deployed on The Washington Post, BBC News and SF Gate (the San Francisco Chronicle online), among others. It gives those online publishing outlets a more engaging experience for their readers which is certainly something the traditional media outlets can use in the online space.

You can even set it to enable a Wiki mode and have your visitors allowed to edit your website. (Not on your life. Heh.)

The installation is fairly simple. You add the plugin (which for me required a download, unzip, FTP the files, then activate in WordPress), install a script in your blog’s footer, which Apture conveniently does for you if you want, then start using it.

Because your link options are based on search, the actual implementation of the links using the tool in your site’s admin can be a little slow and clunky. Zemanta’s links are on-click. But the functionality you get is a much better.

But here’s a real differentiator: If you’re logged in to your website’s admin and simply browsing the actual page, Apture’s tool allows you to highlight a word and add contextual links as you see the page – you don’t even have to be in the admin to add the context. It creeped me out at first, but when I started browsing back through old posts and popping in links left and right, I liked it. A lot. In fact, that functionality might be better for adding links than using the interface in the admin tool. (Strange they’d be different, but they seem to be.)

You will have to sign up for an account (free) at Apture and make sure the tool is talking to your website or blog, but the instructions are easy to follow and it doesn’t take much effort to make it all work.

Just to clarify, Apture takes the contextual practice of linking to a whole new level. In that sense, it is Zemanta on crack. However, Zemanta still offer better ease of use (one-click linking), embeds images with one click (like the Apture logo above) and performs searches (either semantic or manual) to offer related articles to link to from your post. I’ve used both Apture and Zemanta tools on this post to take advantage of the strengths of both.

And if you’d like to add context, multimedia and a more enriching experience to your website or blog, I’d recommend you do the same.

Enhanced by Zemanta

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
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  • Pingback: Apture, An Open Window into the Web of the Future | Carlos Lorenzo()

  • Apture is extremely cool http://bit.ly/3kpKd9

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Hi Danny,

    We chose not to make the links close automatically because we wanted to let users could dig multiple layers deep without worrying about moving their mouse too far and accidentally cause the window to close. We also saw that the mouse-over and mouse-away are especially bad for people with trackpads and trackpoints, of an increasingly laptop-bound web audience. Unlike a lot of other services you see on the web that use the mouse-out event to hide the window, readers use Apture to really engage, read, and consume the content in the windows, because it's high-quality stuff the author of the post chose for them to see.

    That said, we really pay attention to user experience – and we built several shortcuts to close an Apture window more conveniently:

    1) You can click on the link that launched the window in the first place (you'll notice the links icon has been replaced with a small (x)).

    2) You can click anywhere on the body of the page to dismiss the last window you opened.

    3) You can double-click anywhere on the body of the page to dismiss ALL Apture windows you opened.

    Think of it as a stack, each window you are opening is added to a stack. And each time you click on the page background, you are closing one window off that stack. Double-clicking gets you back to where you were before.

    Hope this is helpful! We'd love to hear more feedback from you, so shoot us an email at contact AT apture DOT com.

  • Anyone else who hasn’t seen it yet – http://tinyurl.com/dbfcuw – take a look at these two progs, blog assistants – I feel you will like

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • RT @apture RT @tristanharris: Great review of Apture by @jasonfalls on SocialMediaExplorer! http://bit.ly/2B5rB

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • RT @tristanharris: Great review of Apture by @jasonfalls on SocialMediaExplorer! http://bit.ly/2B5rB

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • RT @tristanharris: Great review of Apture by @jasonfalls on SocialMediaExplorer! http://bit.ly/2B5rB

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Always a sound approach, Stuart. Let us know what you tinker with and how it works for you once you have.

  • You're welcome. We aim to please. Let us know what you think of it after some use.

  • As it turns out, it's browser-dependent. The pop-ups only happen on clicks in Safari. Guess we'll have to ask Tristan about that one.

  • 'Cause dude. I don't make mistakes. Heh.

  • Do you have an idea of when the link will close automatically? As that is one of the key stumbling blocks at the moment.

    Cheers!

  • very good post from @jasonfalls on Apture excellent plugin for WordPress def plugging it in – http://twurl.nl/i83bes (via @incslinger)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • RT @tristanharris Great review of @apture by @jasonfalls on SocialMediaExplorer! http://bit.ly/2B5rB

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • NEAT TOOL RT @JDEbberly Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites [Social Media Explorer] – http://sn.im/fe04e

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Great review of Apture by @jasonfalls on SocialMediaExplorer! http://bit.ly/2B5rB

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites [Social Media Explorer] – http://sn.im/fe04e

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • This is really cool. However, based on your assessment Jason I'm going to install it but not activate it. I need to work all the kinks out of it and play around with it first.

  • This is really cool. However, based on your assessment Jason I'm going to install it but not activate it. I need to work all the kinks out of it and play around with it first.

    • Always a sound approach, Stuart. Let us know what you tinker with and how it works for you once you have.

  • very good post from @jasonfalls on Apture excellent plugin for WordPress def plugging it in – http://twurl.nl/i83bes

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • This looks interesting – thanks @JasonFalls: Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites http://bit.ly/rAMM

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Jason, great post. I love Zemanta though sometimes it loads slowly in firefox and can bug me. This just takes things to a totally different level – you have it right, Zemanta on crack! Off to add this to my blog, thank you for the tip and the review of this.

  • Jason, great post. I love Zemanta though sometimes it loads slowly in firefox and can bug me. This just takes things to a totally different level – you have it right, Zemanta on crack! Off to add this to my blog, thank you for the tip and the review of this.

    • You're welcome. We aim to please. Let us know what you think of it after some use.

  • Jason, great post. I love Zemanta though sometimes it loads slowly in firefox and can bug me. This just takes things to a totally different level – you have it right, Zemanta on crack! Off to add this to my blog, thank you for the tip and the review of this.

  • Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the detailed review! Beyond just adding context, Apture searches a huge set of sources (more than thirty different content & media APIs) which will give end-readers to truly see, hear and immerse themselves in the ideas on the page.

    For those interested to grab the free WordPress plugin, check it out here:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/apture/

    Thanks,
    Tristan
    (Apture Co-Founder & CEO)

  • Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the detailed review! Beyond just adding context, Apture searches a huge set of sources (more than thirty different content & media APIs) which will give end-readers to truly see, hear and immerse themselves in the ideas on the page.

    For those interested to grab the free WordPress plugin, check it out here:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/apture/

    Thanks,
    Tristan
    (Apture Co-Founder & CEO)

    • Do you have an idea of when the link will close automatically? As that is one of the key stumbling blocks at the moment.

      Cheers!

      • Hi Danny,

        We chose not to make the links close automatically because we wanted to let users could dig multiple layers deep without worrying about moving their mouse too far and accidentally cause the window to close. We also saw that the mouse-over and mouse-away are especially bad for people with trackpads and trackpoints, of an increasingly laptop-bound web audience. Unlike a lot of other services you see on the web that use the mouse-out event to hide the window, readers use Apture to really engage, read, and consume the content in the windows, because it's high-quality stuff the author of the post chose for them to see.

        That said, we really pay attention to user experience – and we built several shortcuts to close an Apture window more conveniently:

        1) You can click on the link that launched the window in the first place (you'll notice the links icon has been replaced with a small (x)).

        2) You can click anywhere on the body of the page to dismiss the last window you opened.

        3) You can double-click anywhere on the body of the page to dismiss ALL Apture windows you opened.

        Think of it as a stack, each window you are opening is added to a stack. And each time you click on the page background, you are closing one window off that stack. Double-clicking gets you back to where you were before.

        Hope this is helpful! We'd love to hear more feedback from you, so shoot us an email at contact AT apture DOT com.

  • Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the detailed review! Beyond just adding context, Apture searches a huge set of sources (more than thirty different content & media APIs) which will give end-readers to truly see, hear and immerse themselves in the ideas on the page.

    For those interested to grab the free WordPress plugin, check it out here:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/apture/

    Thanks,
    Tristan
    (Apture Co-Founder & CEO)

  • The timing on this could not be better. Thanks, @jasonfalls. http://bit.ly/3kpKd9

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Looks good. I like how you have to be definitely hovering over a link before anything pops up. With some other services you barely scan by and things are popping up left and right :)

  • Looks good. I like how you have to be definitely hovering over a link before anything pops up. With some other services you barely scan by and things are popping up left and right :)

    • As it turns out, it's browser-dependent. The pop-ups only happen on clicks in Safari. Guess we'll have to ask Tristan about that one.

  • Looks good. I like how you have to be definitely hovering over a link before anything pops up. With some other services you barely scan by and things are popping up left and right :)

  • Nice look at Apture http://bit.ly/335vq4 from @JasonFalls – bloggers that like media on their blog will especially like

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • I looked at Apture a little while back, and I'm with you on the pop-up options – it was one of the reasons I didn't install at the time. I might have another look at it and play about with it more.

    Sure you don't want to let people edit your blog? Whyever not, Jason? ;-)

  • I looked at Apture a little while back, and I'm with you on the pop-up options – it was one of the reasons I didn't install at the time. I might have another look at it and play about with it more.

    Sure you don't want to let people edit your blog? Whyever not, Jason? ;-)

    • 'Cause dude. I don't make mistakes. Heh.

  • I looked at Apture a little while back, and I'm with you on the pop-up options – it was one of the reasons I didn't install at the time. I might have another look at it and play about with it more.

    Sure you don't want to let people edit your blog? Whyever not, Jason? ;-)

  • Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites http://tr.im/ijCv

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Apture is nuts, I agree with this guy. I installed it on my new demo site ITS AMAZING!!!!!!!! http://bit.ly/3kpKd9

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Apture Introduces Next Generation Of Contextual Websites | Social … http://tinyurl.com/dbfcuw

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites http://bit.ly/E1Dhf

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Planning to read: Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites http://bit.ly/2MbS65

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • You're welcome. I'm sure there are some hang ups with it, but I've liked it so far. Hopefully, visitors to our respective websites will agree that it's very useful.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • You're welcome. I'm sure there are some hang ups with it, but I've liked it so far. Hopefully, visitors to our respective websites will agree that it's very useful.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Haven't heard those whispers, Guillaume, but combining the two would be pretty slick. Of course, the business model of both would perhaps be prohibitive of that. Collaboration is always ideal until you start talking dollars. Still, Apture just got a round of funding. Perhaps they can absorb Zemanta, whose funding I'm not sure of.

    Thanks for chiming in.

  • Haven't heard those whispers, Guillaume, but combining the two would be pretty slick. Of course, the business model of both would perhaps be prohibitive of that. Collaboration is always ideal until you start talking dollars. Still, Apture just got a round of funding. Perhaps they can absorb Zemanta, whose funding I'm not sure of.

    Thanks for chiming in.

  • Finally, a plug-in that works the way I think. I agree with your assessment that it's a little more involved than Zemanta, but holy smokes – it hits one out of the park with respect to being able to stack the links and not leave the page. Awesome recommendation. I've installed it and looked at the videos. This is a fabulous product! Thank you!

  • Finally, a plug-in that works the way I think. I agree with your assessment that it's a little more involved than Zemanta, but holy smokes – it hits one out of the park with respect to being able to stack the links and not leave the page. Awesome recommendation. I've installed it and looked at the videos. This is a fabulous product! Thank you!

    • You're welcome. I'm sure there are some hang ups with it, but I've liked it so far. Hopefully, visitors to our respective websites will agree that it's very useful.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Finally, a plug-in that works the way I think. I agree with your assessment that it's a little more involved than Zemanta, but holy smokes – it hits one out of the park with respect to being able to stack the links and not leave the page. Awesome recommendation. I've installed it and looked at the videos. This is a fabulous product! Thank you!

  • SMExplorer: Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites: Adding context to one&#821.. http://tinyurl.com/cx8ctk

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites http://tinyurl.com/cx8ctk

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Liked “Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites” http://ff.im/-1WPMH

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Apture Offers The Next Generation In Contextualizing Websites http://ff.im/-1WPYh

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • I have been using them for a while and they are amazing tools. Heard rumors they could work together at some point.

  • I have been using them for a while and they are amazing tools. Heard rumors they could work together at some point.

    • Haven't heard those whispers, Guillaume, but combining the two would be pretty slick. Of course, the business model of both would perhaps be prohibitive of that. Collaboration is always ideal until you start talking dollars. Still, Apture just got a round of funding. Perhaps they can absorb Zemanta, whose funding I'm not sure of.

      Thanks for chiming in.

  • I have been using them for a while and they are amazing tools. Heard rumors they could work together at some point.