FanPosts and FanShots: How-To and Posting Tips

FanShots

FanShots are quick posts, links, images or videos from around the internet; there are several different types of things you can place in a FanShot.

When Should You Post a FanShot?

  • Whenever you find a link, a quote, a video, a photo, around the internet that you think fellow LBC'ers will enjoy.
  • When you don't have any commentary to add other than your link, video, photo or quote.
  • When you can't meet the 75 word minimum for a FanPost

How Do You Post a FanShot?

1. Click "New FanShot" -- Seems simple, right? While logged in, visit any page on LBC and click the handy "New FanShot" button. Enter the link or pic URL in the proper place.

2. Use the FanShot Bookmarklet -- Clicking and dragging the "Share on SB*Nation" button (which you can find here at the top of the FanShot section, right underneath the top ad bar; just click "FANSHOTS" on the front page to get there) to your bookmarks bar (the area under your address bar in your browser) will allow you to post to LBC quickly and easily while browsing the internet.

Once you have a "Share on SB*Nation" button in your browser, you have one-click posting of FanShots at your fingertips. Clicking the button will bring up a dialog box that looks like this:

Fanshot_medium_medium

Just select the type of FanShot you wish to post, apply the proper tags (more later) and hit publish (that "Front Page" check box is for me as the site admin, to put it on the front page if I choose -- you've seen the blue box posts on the front page; those are FanShots that I've posted).

FanPosts

FanPosts are just like front page stories, except they're written by you, the LBC reader. You can help keep the best FanPosts on the sidebar list longer by recommending them using the "Rec" link at the bottom of the post. Four recommendations puts a FanPost on the rec list.

What makes a good FanPost?

  • Make It Substantial. "Substantial" doesn't mean it has to be a 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 start over. If your post contains something like this:
    words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words

    ... then it's probably better as a FanShot.

  • Make It Relevant. Your FanPost should relate to the Panthers or hockey in some way. If you want to talk about the Dolphins or the Heat or the Marlins there are great sites on SB Nation for that. If you want to do nothing more than post a link to your own website, you're probably a spammer, and should expect your FanPost to be swiftly removed. If all you want to do is post a link to a news story or other online article or page, try a FanShot.

    We don't mean to completely discourage Off-Topic FanPosting, particularly during the offseason when many of us are thinking about baseball or other activities. But if you're new and if you haven't made a FanPost before, your FanPost on tennis probably isn't going to be received very well. If you do make an Off-Topic post (meaning, specifically, that it is not related to the Panthers or hockey), please put OT: in front of the title of your post.

  • Make It Timely. This is something I feel very strongly about. 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 on the righthand sidebar. Please use the search function (located at the upper right of the front page) to see if your topic has been covered in the last few days. If it has, your thoughts on that topic can and should be posted as a comment on the original post.

    If you do have some type of breaking news, post away. Even though we do our best, there's simply no way the staff can be the first to hear/read/see every piece of breaking Panthers news. That's where you can help. See above, though; if there's a Panthers trade or signing and you think that you are absolutely, positively the first one to hear about it, please take a look at the post list first; someone else may have beat you to it.

  • Make It Coherent. You are much more likely to get someone to read your post if you follow some very simple rules:

    ● Use proper spelling. 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.

    ● 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.

    ● 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 in comments. In posts, use the "P" button to make paragraphs; highlight the text you want in a paragraph and hit "P"; it will put the proper opening and closing tags there.

    ● Use proper formatting. You'd be amazed how much better your piece will be received if it's formatted properly. Consider: If you're greeted by a wall of text in a FanPost, chances are you probably will not 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. Write what you would want to read.

The tech team at SB*Nation has built a powerful WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, which is the default box you get if you're making a FanPost. However, if you know how to format using Microsoft Word, you can make a perfectly formatted FanPost here at LBC.

  • 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 -- "Question" may, in fact, be what you are posting, a question you want us to consider; but that doesn't exactly inform us what the topic is about. Your headline should be informative, above all else, with bonus points for creativity.

Examples: (From Bleed Cubbie Blue)

Poor Headline: Orlando Hudson (this is an actual FanPost headline)
Good Headline: Should The Cubs Have Gone After Orlando Hudson?

Poor Headline: Nomar Garciaparra (this is an actual FanPost headline)
Good Headline: Bringing Nomar Back: Pros & Cons

Poor Headline: What Do You Guys Make of This? (this is an actual FanPost headline)
Good Headline: Brian Roberts And Jake Peavy: I Want 'Em. Do You?

Which headline from each would you prefer to read? Put a moment of thought into it and mastering titles becomes second nature. Yet again: tailor your title to what will attract the largest base, without being cumbersome or overly rah-rah.

Tagging

  Tags_medium

To the right of the text area in both FanPosts and FanShots you'll find the area for tagging your posts, as shown in the illustration above. Tagging is mighty 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 Litter Box Cats" box at the bottom of each post. It helps increase your post's exposure tremendously.

Tagging is remarkably simple: type the topics/subjects of your post into the area cleverly labeled "tags." Use commas to separate tags, as shown above. If you type a tag that's already been used at LBC, it'll begin to autocomplete.

Players, teams and leagues have their own dedicated areas, which will help link your posts to the proper Player and Team Pages (LBC defaults to the National Hockey League, of course). These fields also auto -complete: just begin typing the player's name and it should fill in, as shown above; start typing "Booth" and David Booth's name appeared. When this happens, just click on the name and it'll stick with the post.

If you choose to have a reader poll with your post -- click "Attach Poll"; note: we ask that polls are composed with the same thought and care as any other written submission to the site. The options that appear are self-explanatory; just remember to save your poll when you're done.

The "Attach Event" option allows you to tie your post to a specific game, either in the future or past, and all teams are available. Clicking the "Attach Event" button will bring up a box that lists the Cubs' past and future games -- click the drop-down box to select "completed", "upcoming" or "in progress". Clicking the Add button will make sure you post appears on the page for that specific game.

(h/t to Defending Big D, Bleed Cubbie Blue and Japers' Rink, from whence much of this was borrowed.)

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