Last week we looked at how to fully utilize the tools given to us by the SBN devleopers while reading a story and comments on Red Reporter. Today we're going to talk about something that is much more unique to the SBN community compared to your typical blog - FanPosts and FanShots.
As you know, these two sections are what make Red Reporter a community driven site rather than just a typical blog. FanPosts are where you, the average joe living in his mom's basement, can post 1500 words on why Alex Gonzalez is teh awesome! And FanShots give you a spot to post that super neat-o picture, link, or video that you can't seem to fit in the comment section anywhere. Now it's time for you to learn how to use them.
(Special thanks to TheCheat at South Side Sox, from whom I pretty much stole this entire article)
FanShots are quick posts, links, images or videos from around the internet. They are an area for you to post quick thoughts on a small matter.
When Should You Post a FanShot?
- Whenever you find a link, a quote, a video (etc.) around the internet that you think the Red Reporter community will enjoy.
- When you don't have any commentary to add other than your link, vid or quote.
- When you can't meet the 75 word minimum for a FanPost
How Do You Post a FanShot?
- Click "New FanShot" -- Seems simple, right? While logged in, visit any page of Red Reporter and click the handy "New FanShot" button. Enter the link or pic URL in the proper box.
- Use the FanShot Bookmarklet -- Clicking and dragging the "Share on SB*Nation" button (shown below) to your bookmarks bar (the area under your address bar in your browser) will allow you to post to Red Reporter quickly and easily while browsing the internet.
Just select the type of FanShot you wish to post, apply the proper tags (more later) and hit publish. Simple.
FanPosts are just like front page stories, except they're written by you, guy or gal with a computer who may or may not have friends outside of the blog. Select FanPosts, those deemed worthy by the crack editorial team at Red Reporter, will find their way to the front page.
What makes a good FanPost?
- Make it Substantial -- When I say substantial, I don't mean it has to be dissertation or manifesto. But if you see the dreaded 75 word warning, it's either time to put some more thought into your FanPost or trash it all together. Because if you can't fill up 75 words on a topic, what you have is not a FanPost; it's a comment, or maybe a FanShot.
Make it Relevant -- Your FanPost should relate to the Reds or baseball in some way. If you want to do nothing more than post a link to your site, you're probably a spammer, and should expect your FanPost to be swiftly removed. If all you want to do is post a link, try a FanShot.
I don't want to completely discourage Off-Topic FanPosting. Some of our most commented FanPosts have been the regular SIS columns that obc2 has posted. But if you're new and you haven't made a FanPost or comment before, your FanPost on Chris Henry probably isn't going to be received very well.
Make it Timely -- If the link you're posting is a day or two old, chances are it's been posted once or twice before either in the comments or FanShots (more later). Check to see if it's been posted before. Use our powerful search function.
If you do have some breaking news, post away. Even though we try, there's no way we can be the first to hear/read/see every piece of breaking Red Reporter news. That's where you can help.
- Make it Coherent -- I've been known to make more than the occasional grammatical mistake, and I'm more than capable of leaving a word out here or there. But I think my writing is usually readable. Why?
- I use proper spelling (most of the time)-- You're not sending a text message. There's no need 4 U 2 use "time saving" abbreviations which only lessen the value of your post. It's like writing a position paper in crayon.
- I use punctuation -- You wouldn't stand up and attempt to give a speech in one breath, and you shouldn't try to make your FanPost one big sentence that never ends.
- I use multiple paragraphs -- There is something about reading text on the internet that makes reading a large block of text unpleasant and occasionally difficult. The ENTER key can be your friend.
Use Proper Formatting -- You'd be amazed how much better your piece will be received if it's formatted properly. Proper formatting is like a killer profile pic on a dating site.
I'm not likely to read your profile if you're an ugly hag. Likewise, if I'm greeted by a wall of text in your FanPost, I'm probably not going to make it all the way through. Break it up. Make it more than one paragraph. Use the 'B' and 'I' buttons for bold and italic text, respectively.
The tech team at SB*Nation has built a powerful WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, get to know it. Caress it. Love it.. However, if that's not your cup of tea but you know how to format using Microsoft word, you can make a perfectly formatted FanPost here at Red Reporter.
- Start by opening Word.
- Write your post completely in Word, making all your formatting adjustments there.
- Highlight and Copy your work.
- Click New FanPost
- Click the "Paste From Word" icon (upper right icon in the WYSIWYG editor)
- Paste your content into the dialog box.
Give it a Descriptive Headline -- "Red Reporter Poll" may, in fact, be what you are posting, but it doesn't exactly inform us what the topic is about. Your headline should be informative, above all else, with bonus points for creativity.
Poor Headline: Red Reporter Poll
Good Headline: Why Adam Dunn is the devil?
Poor Headline: Adam Dunn
Good Headline: Fay: Adam Dunn is the devil
Poor Headline: What Do You Guys Think of This?
Good Headline: Adam Dunn has dinner with the devil when he eats alone
- Tag it up -- Keep reading
To the right of text area in both FanPosts and FanShots you'll find the area for tagging your posts. Tagging is important because it helps your content show up in searches and in dynamically-rendered content areas, such as on a player page or in the new "More from Red Reporter" box at the bottom of each post. It helps increase your posts exposure.
Tagging is simple. Just type the topics of your post into the area cleverly labeled "tags." Use commas to separate tags.
Players and Teams have their own dedicated area, which will help link your posts to the proper Player and Team Pages. These fields auto complete, just begin typing the player's name and it should fill in.
You can also use the attach poll feature (only on FanPosts) to, get this, attach a poll to your post. While the "Attach Event" option allows you to tie your post to a specific game. Clicking the "Attach Event" button will bring up a box that lists the Reds past and future games (spring training not included -- only games that count appear). Clicking the Add button will make sure your post appears on the page for that specific game, a feature that will become more clearly important in the very near future.