Writer Guidelines and Blog Posting Instructions

Welcome to The Viral Media Lab!  If you’re visiting this tutorial, it means that you’d like to get started and post a blog!

So let’s get going.  First, you want to write short, snappy posts that aren’t very long (think 300-850 words max).  You’re not writing a paper, after all!  But please explain your post a bit, especially if you’re sharing videos or links.  Don’t just post a video with no explanation.

*Tone is important!  We’re trying to spread good viruses and so we should try to write posts that talk about — and spread — productive ideas for social change.  Look on the bright side and give it an optimistic slant.  We can change this world together!

To write a post, visit the site (obviously!).  Once you’re on The Viral Media Lab site, you can scroll down to the bottom of the column on the right side of the page and click “Log In” under the section entitled “Meta”:

You’ll be asked to type in your user name and password.  Your user name will most likely be your first name, and you’ll be assigned a password that you can change later when you update your profile and upload an avatar:

To upload an avatar and change your password, you’ll have to be logged in.  An avatar doesn’t have to be a photo of you.  It can be any image.  Look to the upper right hand corner of the screen and click on your name, then select ‘Edit My Profile’ from the drop down menu (you can also log out from this menu):


*Tip: Just like Twitter, it helps to have an avatar on your blog, because it makes your social media presence seem friendlier.  Your avatar is your social media “face.”  It can be a standard profile photo, or any photo of anything, but definitely try to upload a representative image, even if it’s not your actual face, so people have an outward impression of who you are (imagine interacting with a person without a face!).  You can get a gravatar by clicking here.  A gravatar uploads your chosen image/avatar automatically to any site.  It’s a “globally recognized avatar”:

After you’ve logged in and edited/created a profile and uploaded an avatar, you can begin your post!  You’ll see a dashboard along the top of your screen and also along the margin on the left side of your screen.  Go to “Posts” and choose “New” (along the left side), or click on “Add New” along the top and select “Post”:


You’ll be provided with a blank post to start writing.  Always give your post a catchy title, and then type the body of the post into the space provided.  (Format-wise, it works better if you type your post directly into the blog rather than typing it out elsewhere and pasting it in):


When you type in a post, you should categorize it by selecting a category or adding a new one to the left of your post, along the margin of your screen (just scroll down). It’s very important to also “tag” your blog with words that capture your blog’s theme and topic so that people can find your post based on key words or topical words in a search.  Separate your tags with a comma:

Be sure to save your work frequently by pressing the “Save Button” on the right side of the screen:

Please copy edit your work and correct spelling and grammar mistakes before your post is submitted for review.  You can always click ‘preview’ above your blog post after it’s saved, at the top of your screen, under the dashboard, to check your work, read it over, and check out how it’ll look when it’s published.  Please preview your blog before you submit it to pending:

If you want to upload a video, click here to watch the video uploading tutorial. Every post should have at least one photo, preferably one at the beginning of the post and at least one more in the body of the post.  To upload an image, go to the tool bar at the top of the blog post that you’re working on.  It looks like this:

Click on the “Upload/Insert” icon for photos (it’s the one all the way to the left) and it’ll say ‘add an image’ if you run the mouse over the icon.  Then you’ll have the option to select and upload a photo.  Make sure that your photo is sized so that it’ll fit in your blog and look good. Once it’s uploaded, you can choose to center it:

And then you can select the size and position of your image and “insert into post”:

*Tip: always credit your sources (of photos, quotes, etc).  You can place a block quote in your post by selecting the quotes (“) icon from the above toolbar.

If you want to embed a link, highlight the text where you’d like to embed the link:

and then select the link icon from the toolbar.  If you run your mouse of the link icon, it should say “insert/edit link”:

Then paste the link into the space provided:

Be sure to check the box that reads “Open link in a new window/tab”:

Then press the “Add Link” blue button and the link will be embedded and the sentence fragment that you’ve selected should appear highlighted. Please don’t highlight a whole sentence or paragraph to embed a link.  Only a few important words will suffice.  You can also title your URL when you embed the link so that it’s easier to find in a search.

After you finish writing, save your draft, then preview it.  Make sure it’s polished before you introduce it to the cyber-sphere! Go back and proofread your post for errors, check spelling and copy edit for grammar and make sure it sounds okay.  Then submit your post to ‘pending’ by clicking the blue button to the right of your post (in the margin) that says “Submit for review.”  …. aaaaaaaand you’re done.  It’s much easier than it seems at first, so don’t be discouraged!  Soon you’ll be rattling off blog posts like crazy before you know it!  And for more information, check out this video tutorial:

Happy blogging!


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