What makes a good first post in a discussion forum or other online group?

On one of the Ryze networks I’m on, Eric Sohn’s “Bigger. Better. Faster. Fewer Ulcers.” Network, the moderator put forth the question for discussion, “What makes a good first post?”

What makes a good first post varies from one network to the other, because some networks want/allow an introduction message, whereas others don’t.

If they don’t allow it, then it’s easy — a good first post is to simply join the conversation, either with a relevant question (that hasn’t been discussed recently — search the archives before asking), or with a relevant response to someone else’s post.

Let’s look at an introduction, though, as that’s more common — what makes a good introduction online?

I actually teach this in my online networking workshops and teleclasses. Here’s a summary of what I see as the key elements a good introduction should have:
– Positive emotion
– Why you’re here (your expectations)
– Short, relevant history
– What do you do now that relates?
– Break down barriers by sharing something personal
– Make an invitation to connect with you
– Affirm your commitment to participate

I can perhaps best illustrate it with an example that I think perfectly models all of the above elements:


90% of the self-intros I see on the various social networking sites only satisfy one or two of these. You can easily stand out from the crowd, make yourself memorable, and invite relevant connections by giving yourself a great introduction following this simple format.