No matter what subject your favorite online forum discusses, you’ll probably want to share a photo or two with the rest of the members. If you’re a group of cat lovers, you’ll want to post pictures of your fur baby. If you’re all into cars, you’ll want to show off your classic Mustang. The only problem is that you don’t know a fast, easy way to share your favorite photos with the other forum members. That’s about to change.
Uploading and sharing your pictures takes just a couple of minutes—and won’t cost you anything. One of the most important things to know is the forum’s protocol for sharing photos. Every forum owner has his or her own preferences. You need to follow these rules so that you’ll continue to be a welcome part of the online community. Pay attention to things like size requirements, appropriate subject matter and what means of posting the forum owner prefers (some want you to embed the photo in your post; others prefer an external link).
Once you’re familiar with these rules, pick the pictures that you’re most interested in sharing. Make sure that you have backup copies of these images before you do anything. That way, you won’t lose anything if something goes wrong. A routine backup every few weeks or so is a good idea even if you don’t modify your photos, as a computer crash will take out your files. Not many forums let you upload to their site directly from your computer.
This method stores the image files on the forum’s server. That will take up a lot of valuable space that’s better used on other things — like archiving past forum posts. Instead, you can upload your pictures to an online photo service. Photobucket and Image Shack are two popular examples of these sites. After you sign up, you can create a photo album. In many cases other users can view these images if you send them the URL. This is a quick, easy way to share your photos with everybody on the forum. All you have to do is create a clickable link directly to the photos that you want to share. The other readers will take care of the rest (clicking, mostly).
An even better way to share your pictures is to embed them in your forum posts. This is easy to do. Go to the message composition (or message reply) page. You should see a button on the control panel that lets you create an “img” link. Click on this once to open that code. Now copy the URL of the photo that you want to share and paste that into the message window. Close the tag and preview your post. If all has gone well, you should see your image right there in the forum.
One courteous thing to do is to resize your photos at some point before you share them with other forum members. You can resize the files with an image editing program like Paint Shop Pro. And if you don’t want to spend any money on software, The GIMP is a legally-free alternative. Just resize your image, upload to the online storage site and share as usual.
Many people, however, aren’t familiar with image editing programs. Others just don’t want to put that much effort into editing their digital images. If you’re one of those people, look for a storage site that lets you resize the images you’ve already uploaded. Some sites even give you labeled defaults so that you don’t have to put much work into figuring out the right sizes for your forum-bound photos. Just click on the appropriate size and let the site do the rest of the work.
Another thing to remember is that many people are still using dial-up Internet access. You should keep your photo posting to a reasonable level — say, two or three resized images at the most per thread — to make sure that these users will be able to enjoy the forum as much as you do. If you still aren’t sure of what you’re doing, you should search the forum for answers. Typically, somebody before you has had the same problem. He or she probably created a thread about the issue, and received help. If you use the forum’s “search” feature to find this thread and follow the advice, you’ll save yourself the time and trouble of creating a new thread and then waiting for replies.
Sharing your favorite images and photos with other people on online forums and sites is easier than you might think, especially nowadays. Just follow the above tips to get started.