FanShots - A User Guide

FanPosts and FanShots are part of what make SB Nation blogs different from and better than other blogs you might read - they allow you to contribute content, giving each user a greater voice than s/he might have anywhere else on the 'Net. But just because you've got a voice doesn't mean you should yell and it doesn't mean you should speak just to hear yourself talk. Here are some helpful hints for newcomers and veterans alike.

There's no doubt that this platform has a lot of toys that we don't use nearly enough. FanShots are probably the least used aspect of the site even though it can be one of the best tools. This helpful guide will hopefully answer the age old questions of what FanShots are for (quick hits), how to make really good ones, why there are 5 kinds (it pays to have options), and what the "chat" one does (no idea).

So help me Wendel if you do something wrong after I post this user's manual.

What Are FanShots For?

FanShots are quick posts, links, images or videos.

When Should You Post a FanShot?

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

FanShots are a great way of sharing anything interesting Leafs or even NHL related. Hopefully all of the Barilkosphere posts will get into the morning link dump (aka the From The Branches post) and any new ones should get posted in the comments. If you find a great MSM article (or even a particularly bad one that you think could spur on good discussion), a good quotation, a YouTube video, a good image, or anything that you stumble across on your trip around the interwebs that you think Leafs fans would appreciate. One caveat: make sure it has not already been posted. If it's breaking news make sure that it hasn't already been posted. Please check the morning post and read the recent fanshots to see if it's already been posted. If it has then I am going to delete it. 

They differ from FanPosts because they are much less involved. If you are writing a FanPost with a link and filler to hit the 75 word minimum then you should be posting it as a FanShot. Same if it's one picture. Anything where you are just adding a paragraph or two of explanation probably means that it should be a FanShot.

In the interest of maximizing the exposure of your FanShot here are some tips to maximize your efforts:

  1. Write a killer headline.  Include key words like names and teams, and be as specific as possible.  Most people click on FanShots from the sidebar (even though the FanShots page is way more helpful) meaning the only thing readers will see initially is your headline.  If they don't like the headline, they won't click on the link.  Unless, of course, you...
  2. Include an intriguing image.  Make sure the text and detail are large enough to make out -- be aware that the SBN software might shrink it to the correct size.  Make sure the point of the image is quickly apparent -- don't make me struggle to understand what I'm looking at.  Most importantly, make sure I see something interesting.  I need to be motivated enough to click through through the link or leave a comment. Also, leave a link to the full-sized image just in case.
  3. Entice readers with significant information.  This could be a long quote, data tables, or your own thoughts.  Give us something interesting that can be used as a discussion starter, not just an executive summary.
  4. Tag the FanShot properly. Please, for the love of all that is blue and white in this world, do me this favour. There is a specific spot for team names, one for player names, and one for other tags/being funny. IIt's all explained here

Headlines

Your headline or image is the gateway to the rest of the FanShot.  The rest of the FanShot is the gateway to readers clicking the link and leaving comments.

Not Good: "Declining Into Obivion"

The spelling mistake is obvious and an immediate killer, but I also have no clue what I'm getting myself into.  Even if this was the headline of the original article, I'm not at the original article.  You'll often need to repackage headlines.

Good: "Kyle Wellwood's Declining Weight Trigger Fears of Swine Flu"

It would have to be the only explanation right? More importantly, I know who the article's about, what it's about, and why it was written.  I'll at least click through to the full FanShot.

Images

Not Good:

Aav_20vs_20war_medium

I can't read the text at this size, the title doesn't make sense in isolation, and the graphics don't tell me anything other than someone's comparing a linear model to a slightly non-linear model. Not to mention that it's about baseball. Boo-urns.

Good:

Alcentralpie_medium


Right away, Godd Till wants you to know that the Tigers are second best at something. The text is a little small, but it's not even necessary.  After noticing that the Indians are a strong favorite to win the division, I find myself wondering who's making that claim...  Boom, I'm hooked.

FanShot Body

Not Good:

More cool stuff by Damien Cox.

Sure, just name-dropping Damien Cox with a positive note might be enough for some people to think that you're insane but you're making me click through in order to find out anything about the article. 

Good (for illustrative purposes I'm leaving the baseball talk in the post. Jays FanShots go here):

Dan Szymborski gives us a great new tool for modifying a player's pre-season ZiPS projection based on his current performance. I think he is just using Bayesian inference, so the numbers won't take into account specific changes in approach/velocity/injuries or anything else that isn't necessarily captured by the numbers.  However, it is still a great thing to have.

Dan also offers a spreadsheet that you can download here, which allows you to input your favorite player's current stats and their name to get their updated projection for the rest of the season.

For example, thanks to his .250 wOBA so far this year, BJ Upton -- BtB's favorite player -- is now projected to have only a .354 wOBA for the rest of the season, as compared to his .367 pre-season projection.

That's a lot of detail. That'll hopefully get people to go through to the article but if not they'll at least be able to comment on the FanShot.

Do you have any other tips to throw out there?  Anything else about a FanShot that makes you more likely to check it out or start leaving comments?

How To Make A FanShot

I put how to make a good one up top because that's close enough to the top that those familiar with the 'how' of FanShots are likely to still read it. For the Whopper Jrs. here is how to make a FanShot in 11 pictures. That sounds like a lot but it's a piece of cake. 

Fanshot_2_medium
The FanShots are group in the left sidebar below the FanPosts. You can rec them just like comments and FanPosts.

Fanshot_3_medium
Or you can get at them via the top toolbar.

Fanshot_1_medium
Here's my sidebar. You guys have scaled down version. Click on "New FanShot" to start and then you have options

Fanshot_6_medium
I hope that 'Link' is self-explanatory but this is likely the most common one you'll use

Fanshot_7_medium
This is great if you want to highlight a specific excerpt from an article or a specific quotation.
You can add the link in the second part.

Fanshot_8_medium
The important thing to remember is that it can't be a blogspot image. Don't know why but they don't work. Otherwise, if you have a picture to share just make sure to include a link to the full-size version

Fanshot_9_medium
This is where you grab the embedding code from YouTube videos or LeafsTV. Instead of posting a link click on share on LeafsTV or NHL.com clips and get the video up.

Fanshot_10_medium
Have a list you want to start discussion? This is the place. Top 5 fanbases? Top 5 Leafs centremen of all-time? Throw 'em in there.

Fanshot_11_medium
Honestly, we only use this for the Chatty Cathys. I have no idea how to use them otherwise.

Fanshot_4_medium
If you click FanShots on the top toolbar you can sort them by type. This makes searching a little easier. You'll also notice the Share on SB Nation icon. If you add it to your Favourites it will make the entire process that much easier.

Fanshot_5_medium

Once it's installed, you click on it when you're on something interesting and it'll start the process for you.

So there you have it. One post that tells you all that you've ever wanted to know about FanShots. Hopefully everyone takes the time to read it, asks any questions, and continues the excellent use that we've seen so far. This guide should help you to make them better and in the end that benefits all of us.

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