What makes a good Switchboard post?

Switchboard sets itself apart from other spaces online by narrowing posts to just two categories: asks and offers.  Asks and offers can be about a wide range of topics that community members want to connect around, but regardless of what type of post is written, posts that typically elicit activity have a particular format and characteristics.  

Characteristics of good Switchboard posts: 

1.  The post is actionable, which means the post invites community members to do things like:

  • share advice or resources

  • meet for coffee

  • introduce you to someone

  • hire someone

  • apply for a position

  • help someone with a task

  • collaborate on a project

2.  The post has a warm, friendly tone.  Imagine starting up a conversation with someone who wasn't warm and friendly right off the bat versus someone who was.  Who would you rather continue talking to?  Posts that are warm and friendly invite other users to engage.

3.  The post is authentic.  Rigid, overly formal posts that look like they were written with a well-worn thesaurus nearby tend not to get much traction, and that's because people tend to gravitate towards posts that feel like an actual human, not a facade.  Ultimately, just be yourself and use language that you normally use.  The community will be able to tell if you're trying too hard.

4.  The first part of the post provides some introductory details about you.  Most of the community won't have a clue who you are, so providing some details about yourself goes a long way in introducing yourself, which helps people create a connection with your post and feel like they are getting to know you a bit.

5.  The latter part of the post is devoted to your actual ask or offer, and it's clear what you are asking for or are offering.  Providing relevant details here is important, like in the point above, so erring on the side of detail helps avoid posts that are too vague; vague posts typically get very little to no activity because it forces the community to have to work much harder just to understand what is going on, and most people don't have the time to do that.

6.  The post includes a location and tags.  This not only provides extra information for folks that open the post, but it helps the post appear in more searches.

There are thousands of great posts across many Switchboards, but below is a link to great ones you can use for inspiration in creating your own post.

Exemplar asks

Exemplar offers