Tips for (effective) posting on Social Media (DRAFT!)

This page describes the process I use to announce updates to the Collins View Firewise Community pages, announce new articles on the New Collins View Blog, and also just to make personal posts on line.

As you know, simple posts consist only of text, or maybe text with a photo. It gets complicated when you include hyperlinks in your post, as the "platform" will attempt to produce a 'Page Preview' or perhaps it will select an image found at the link.

On this web page you will find some Tips, and explanations of the various aspects that determine how your post may appear.

Anatomy of a Nextdoor Post, similar to Facebook (edited screenshot).

By social media, I mean Nextdoor, Facebook, etc.


The Order of these steps Matters! For best results, do in the order given here, especially during step 5.

→ 1. Have the text of your Post on the ready, perhaps in a text editor / note pad.

Your FIRST LINE is all that people may see unless they click on your post.

→ 2. Have an image handy that you may want to use in your intial post. The image needs to be mildly rectangular, otherwise Nextdoor may feature only a rectangular section of the middle of it. (See IMAGES below)

→ 3. Have one (1) main link you want to share in your initial post.

→ 4. Have a list of other LINKS you want to share in comments AFTER you have made your initial post, as a way of supplementing the post without making it over-whelming. Have annotation in mind for each link.

→ 5. Go to Nextdoor (or Facebook) - start a new post.

5a. Copy paste only the TEXT into your new post, from #1 above.

5b. Add whatever image you want, from #2 above, to the post. On the web version, you can just drag an image into the post. Cool! Using the App... you'll need to select the image from your device, or take a photo.

5c. Now insert (via copy/paste) the 1 main link you want to share, from #3 above, perhaps at the end of your text.

5d. Hit the POST button. If the post doesn't look good, use the edit function to fix it before proceeding.

→ 6. Once the post is showing up and looking good, start a series of comments, using up all the links you want to share, from #4 above... you can annotate each link as you comment - saying what it is, followed by the URL.

→ 7. End of Process. Congratulations!


Your first line may be all that people see without clicking on your post. Don't force them to click to see what your post is about.

Example of a good First Line:

"I'm an amateur shoemaker. Looking to meet up with like minded people.."

Screenshot of a good start to a post on Nextdoor (ignore "minding" mistake.)

Example of wordy First Lines that say nothing, really... Just Say It!

As my english comp professor Fr Keenan said: "Don't take a big windup for a little pitch."

**There's nothing wrong with being new to the hood or curious, but perhaps this could be noted after your "ask", or important first line.


NextDoor wants plain text. That text may contain raw URLs - See section below about including links. You can add images to your post via the Image icon.

Page Preview images — Some websites (eg YouTube) automatically provide a preview image of your link, so you may not need to provide your own image. Oddly, a web page itself can specify a preview image that doesn't appear on the page itself! How can you tell? Try a test post - then delete your test. Be brave.

If you don't provide an image, the platform may select one from the web page you are linking to. You may prefer some other image!

Page Previews — Some web pages contain hidden "metadata", including a Title and Short Description, as well as a preview image. Not all web pages contain such metadata.

A Page Preview may just include the Title of the Page. It can include the title and a small image, or a title and a larger image, plus a description. It's all handled between the platform (Nextdoor, Facebook) and the web server linked to, and your browser or App. As a poster, you don't have much control over this, but you can provide an image of your own choosing in addition to your text and a link. The platform may demote the preview image in favor of an image you provide, or display both! Here are some examples:

Preview of Firewise Digital DoorHanger article (screenshot)
Preview of Terwilliger Center article blog article (screenshot)

IF YOU PROVIDE an image in your post before you put a link in, your image MAY override the page preview image. This may change over time as social media companies modify their code. TRY IT and see what Works today.

Preview of Greenwood Hills Cemetery Tree Walk blog article (screenshot)

IMAGE Tip: I found that while composing a post, I can click an image on my desktop or folder and drag it into the composition area, and Nextdoor/Facebook will add it to the post. That's real handy! (This works only for the initial post, not follow up comments.)

A note on Aspect Ratios

The image you provide may be used for the web, the mobile app, and the email/digest for the post. — wait, they don't do email digests anymore, right? Anyway...

Normal landscape images are probably best, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Example sizes are 528 x 296 or 1024 x 576.

In some cases, Nextdoor takes whatever you upload and makes a square out of it, so it would be best to have the important feature of your image centered within a middle area as tall as the image height.

Lt Blue rect = extent of image; Orange circle = subject; Gold square = what ND may crop to. Safe area!

Lastly, if you upload a portrait-oriented image or tall skinny image, the top and bottom may get lopped off.


You may be tempted to poke raw URLS into the body of text that you are writing. That works, but you must use raw URLS (not Word-linked hypertext) like, etc... Some URLS can be 100's of characters long --- ugly and horrible! That's why I suggest banishing them to later comments.

You can omit https:// since platforms usually recognize a web link pattern without it.

You can't just COPY something out of a Word doc or a Web Page, and paste it into a NextDoor (Facebook) post and reasonably expect Links, Styles, fonts, etc to show up properly.

A link copied from Facebook or an email newsletter likely has additional (unnecessary) components that identify where it came from for tracking purposes. You can eliminate the extraneous junk (usually everything past the '?' in the URL) and the link will work fine.

I Repeat: you can try to copy the text from a web page, and put it in a text file or paste it into a post.. but don't expect links and images to come over from a web post to a social media post. Good Luck!


Nextdoor does not support linking hidden URL's to text. (Right?) The best you can do is put the raw URL inline with your text -- Nextdoor will recognize it as a URL, and make it clickable. This makes for messy posts if you have lots of ugly links in your post. That's why I just post plain text first, then add various links in the comments that follow. That way, people aren't bogged down by over-linking in the initial post. If interested, they'll find clickable links (references, footnotes) after the initial post. Maybe just have one link and one image in the initial post.... My $0.02.

Some links from sites can be long and quite ugly. Banish them to comments!

Not covered here

You can add a Map Location via the "Map Pin" icon.

Closing Message from Howard Rheingold, author of Net Smart, 2011

"The future of digital culture -- yours, mine, and ours -- depends on how well we learn to use the media that have infiltrated, amplified, distracted, enriched, and complicated our lives. How you employ a search engine, stream video from your phonecam, or update your Facebook status matters to you and to everyone because the ways people use new media in the first years of an emerging communication regime can influence the way those media end up being used and misused for decades to come. ... I've been asking myself and others how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and above all, mindfully."


A link appears with each reference, to the source.