R. Ann Parris on Writing A Good Contact Post


Writing A Good Contact Post by R. Ann Parris

On preppergroups.com, there are two basic types of posts we see most often as we cruise through checking the front page or searching by state/territory/region.

One is an individual “selling” themselves – whether truly an individual, or the point of contact for a family of 2-6. They’re primarily looking for a group or training, somebody to learn and share with. Somebody who becomes an “internet buddy” is a bonus in many cases.

The second type is usually an organization or established group reaching out for recruiting purposes. For all intents and purposes, this includes the patriarch or matriarch of a nuclear family of 3-8 or so who are well set-up, and looking for safety in additional numbers and-or specific skillsets.

A good post will include some basics, like preferred contact (an email, the private message system) and  the state and-or neighboring states inside easy driving distance where somebody is located or is interested in moving.

There’s a balancing act that takes place between being too brief in a post, and a post that’s cramped, long, and hard to read. Still, a good post also includes a few other goodies.

If there are requirements that have to be met, we need to include those.

That can take a range of forms. It could be allergies, “we’re already at the max number of dogs on the property”, a warning that farms have animals and animals have distinct smells and engage in outdoor sex, or a particular religious or political belief that the poster knows rubs people just in everyday life. Rather than waste time, if there’s a conflict, readers can immediately move on.

At preppergroups.com, unless you’re seeing discriminatory hate type things, we do just move on if a post doesn’t fit us – we don’t argue the points we disagree with. There’s a forum for that. If we do see some form of concerning information, we do not jump ourselves, we tag the admins with the link or title so they can deal with it.

Other requirements might be fitness levels and minimum standards for supplies.

A property owner’s post will also commonly include what kind of living arrangements might take place if they’re inviting people in, or specify that they’re looking for neighbors who could form backups nearby, not a live-in laborer.

Applicable skills lists help, too, whether we’re listing skillsets we’re actively seeking (or require), want to learn, or already have.

“Likeminded” is not a descriptive on its own. Sure, we’re all likeminded in one key way: We want to be prepared. For what and how prepared we want to be differ, sometimes irreconcilably.

We also all have political and religion/faith beliefs, and personal thresholds for how accepting we can be of other beliefs (those thresholds include intolerance of hatreds).

Likewise, there are general personality traits we have or are aware we don’t mesh with. They may or may not apply depending on whether we’re looking at ever potentially living in the same compound or under the same roof, just dealing with each other for a few days at a time to help at harvest and planting, only seeing each other at meals and periodic tasks, or only seeing each other for 8-12 hour work days most of the time.

If there’s a key set that isn’t going to work, we want to tell people about it. It just saves us both time.

Use an editing tool for primary posts.

Whether we’re selling ourselves to join a group, looking for training, offering experience or a retreat location, or trying to gather email buddies, excessive errors decrease the likelihood we’re going to hear from quality candidates.

Most sites (including preppergroups.com) include spelling and grammar cues in the post creation tools. We can also use our email as a word processor. Those red and green squiggly lines help us create posts that are readable.

I know specific cases of horrid typists and spellers who are brilliant, handy people. I will only read short emails from several of them.

Fair or not, reading posts (and long replies) filled with errors is going to start creating a mental image. It’s also sometimes impossible to even figure out what someone is saying. If it’s important enough to find a group or partner, it’s important enough to spend some time on.

The same general rules apply when replying to a post or offering contact via email/private messenger systems.

We might be a bit more concise, or we might take that opportunity to expound a little to see if we have a chance of being a good fit.

We’d be more concise yet if we’re replying on a chat or forum.

Either way, original post or reply, the main goal is to establish pretty quickly if this person/group is somebody we wish to further invest our time in. That requires including enough information without being overwhelming, and being able to convey that information over the keyboard.

It can make a big difference in the number of replies we receive, and the quality of those communications and potential partners.