Social Media

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Norwescon maintains several social media accounts that are used for disseminating information about the convention. While the website is considered the canonical source of information about the convention, many people will turn to social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter) with questions, so accounts should be regularly monitored and responses provided when appropriate.

Primary Accounts


Facebook Page: The official Facebook Page for the convention, and the most appropriate place for announcements and posts. Only approved individuals can post to the page.

Facebook Group: The Facebook Group for the convention. This group was originally created as a space for any Norwescon members, fans, or interested parties to connect, and not as an official information outlet. However, as Facebook has moved to prioritizing groups over pages, this has become one of the most used information outlets, and any posts made to the official page should be cross-posted to the group as well. All group members can post, however, posts are moderated to prevent spam or abuse.

Moderation Policy

Broadly, all comments to page or group posts, and all group posts made by members, should abide by Norwescon's Code of Conduct.

In order to keep the spirit of the Facebook Group as a space where members can discuss the con and related issues, we have a few guidelines for posts. In brief: posts must be on-topic, and no advertising or promotions are allowed. Posts are moderated only against those guidelines; we allow posts critical of the convention as long as they are presented respectfully and do not directly target individuals. The full guidelines are pinned within the group.


Twitter: The official Twitter account for the convention. Primarily used for brief announcements with links to more detailed announcements on the website or other locations as appropriate.

Twitter should be monitored as frequently as reasonably possible for mentions of the convention. Not every mention needs a reply, but we're free to do so when it seems appropriate. The two easiest ways to monitor Twitter are via the notifications tab (which will only catch Tweets that specifically mention @norwescon) and by keeping a saved search for "Norwescon" and other related terms. The official hashtag for each year is nwcXX, with the XX updated each year (#nwc44 for Norwescon 44, #nwc45 for Norwescon 45, etc.; the same pattern can be used to reference past or future years, such as #nwc17 or #nwc50).

The current search string is norwescon OR nwc44 OR nwc45 OR nwc2022 OR nwc2023 OR waypointnwc OR pkdaward OR pkdickaward OR philipkdickaward OR norwestcon. The string gets updated annually. The "OR" boolean designator must be in all caps.

  • norwescon OR nwc44 OR nwc45: catches general mentions, plus the current and prior or upcoming year
  • nwc2022 OR nwc2023: catches people who don't know the official tag and make a guess at the "abbreviation plus year" pattern
  • waypointnwc: catches mentions of our mid-year "Waypoint" events
  • pkdaward OR pkdickaward OR philipkdickaward: catches mentions of the Philip K. Dick award; the "philipkdickaward" tag is the official string we should use when posting about the award
  • norwestcon: catches the most common misspelling of our name

Note: With Twitter's problems under the current ownership, we have been investigating other options. We still have too much of a following on Twitter, including current and many past GOHs, to abandon the site entirely. However, while Twitter's demise doesn't seem to be quite as imminent as was assumed at one point, it's best to plan as if it could disappear at any point. And on that note....


Mastodon: The official Mastodon account for the convention. Primarily used for brief announcements with links to more detailed announcements on the website or other locations as appropriate.

Mastodon should be monitored as frequently as reasonably possible for mentions of the convention. Not every mention needs a reply, but we're free to do so when it seems appropriate.

Because Mastodon does not have global full-text search, we are much more limited in our ability to find posts. Instead, we can search for and follow individual hashtags so that posts using those tags visible to our server show up in our feed. At this time, we are following the norwescon, nwc45, and philipkdickaward hashtags.

Secondary Accounts


Flickr: Administration primarily handled by the Lead Photographer. Updates have been sporadic as the Lead Photographer position has changed hands over the past few years.


Instagram: Currently the most frequently updated of the secondary social media accounts, though has still been more sporadic than either Facebook or Twitter.


LinkedIn: Primarily exists so that volunteers who wish to can add Norwescon as an employer for their LinkedIn profiles. Generally the header graphic should be updated annually, but this was overlooked for NWC44.


Pinterest: Was requested by a few people with interest in the platform. As the Social Media Manager at the time was not terribly familiar with Pinterest or its conventions, administration of the Pinterest account was delegated to an assistant. Updates have been inconsistent.


Tumblr: Was part of the early Norwescon social media outreach. As Tumblr changed ownership and was used less, posts were submitted automatically by a third party service, which eventually folded. Has not been updated in a few years.


Interacting with people in the comments of Facebook threads and through replies, retweets/boosts, and quote-retweets on Twitter and Mastodon is encouraged when appropriate. Generally, people enjoy knowing that there is a personality behind the often faceless social media account, and that our social media presence is not being used solely as a one-way megaphone, blasting out announcements without paying attention to what others are saying in response or about the convention. A casual, friendly, and humorous (when appropriate) tone is encouraged. Not every mention needs a reply, but there's often no harm in replying when it makes sense to do so.

Some recent examples:

However, care must occasionally be taken when sensitive subjects, criticism of the convention, or accusations are encountered. While it is often tempting to try to defend the convention from any perceived slight, this can often backfire, especially if done too quickly, without all necessary information, or in a way that may inadvertently further exacerbate the situation, even unintentionally. The best general approach when someone is upset is to respond respectfully, acknowledge their complaint, and either ask if we can be of any assistance or, if known and if possible, direct them to an appropriate email address to get assistance. Being defensive, even in situations where we feel we have every right to be, is often the worst approach to take. In particularly troublesome situations, it may be best to not respond immediately, and email a link to the Tweet, Toot (Mastodon post), Facebook post, or Facebook comment to an appropriate department Exec or safety team member to see if they want to either provide a response or handle the matter in some other way.


Social media posts tend to get more engagement when a graphic is included with each post. Graphics may be provided by department heads submitting items to be posted via the social media outlets, created by a Norwescon graphic designer, or created by the social media team. Historically, nearly all of the graphics have been created by the social media team for a number of reasons (speed of creation by not having to coordinate among multiple people or departments, familiarity with the proper sizes and templates, and the simple reality that the social media manager and the webmaster were the same person, which made keeping graphics consistent between the website and social media posts was extremely simple).

Each platform has slightly different requirements for image dimensions. Template files for the various platforms are kept in the NWC Graphics Drive shared Google Drive in Affinity Designer format.

Graphics Drive Organization

The NWC Graphics Drive is structured as follows:

  • _General Assets: Logos, fonts, maps, and other items not tied to a specific year.
  • _Web Promos: Templates used to create the generic banner images posted to the Posters and Graphics page of the website. Managed and updated by the webmaster.
  • NWC45: One folder for each year of the convention. Not every folder listed below will be present for every year, and exact names may vary slightly. Items and folders are added as they are created or as older materials are found and added to the archives.
    • General Assets: Images and files that are specific to this year, but may be used in various contexts across different departments.
    • Photos: Photos from that year, usually contributed by the photography department.
    • Website: Templates and images used for the website.
    • Social Media: Templates and images used for social media posts.

Scheduling and Cross-Posting

While posts can be created and sent directly within each of the various platforms, it's often easier to use a centralized service to automatically cross-post to multiple platforms at once. We currently use the Buffer service to handle this. Buffer allows us to compose posts properly written for each platform, attach an image (identical for all targeted platforms or different for each; generally, Facebook, Mastodon, and Twitter get a 16:9 landscape orientation image while Instagram gets a square variant), and then either send the post to all platforms immediately or schedule the post for a later time and/or date.

General Year-Round Scheduling

If a social media post simply needs to get sent out, but the exact timing isn't critical, Buffer's default "Add to Queue" option will pick a time for the post to go out based on Buffer's algorithms. For many posts, this is fine. If timing is more critical (such as when promoting particular events, when a post may need to go out on a particular day or time of day), the exact date and time to be posted can be specified.

Generally, at most only a few posts per day should go out. Twitter and Mastodon tend to be more amenable to multiple posts over the course of a day (which comes in handy during the convention), Facebook tends to work best if only three to four posts at most go out on any single day.

During Con Scheduling

Each day of the convention, two to three Facebook posts are published, and many (30+) Twitter posts are published. In contrast to the rest of the year, these posts tend to be text-only, though graphics could be included if they were ready in time. Because most of these posts are text-only, few are sent to Instagram. Our during-con Instagram presence is one area that could definitely be improved.

NWC45 will be our first convention since creating our Mastodon account. As Buffer supports Mastodon, we could send the same posts there that we plan for Twitter; at the moment, this is the likely plan, though that could change.

The posts are written ahead of time in the weeks between when the programming schedule is made available internally and the week of the convention. The posts are drafted in a spreadsheet that tracks character counts to make sure all will fit within each platform's specifications. If possible, the drafted posts should be sent to Editing, Programming, and Special Events for review to ensure that each department is satisfied with which events have been highlighted and how descriptions have been edited to fit within the space allotments. Posts are then copied into Buffer during the week before the con so that they automatically publish over the weekend.


  1. Morning post: Some form of good morning message that mentions which areas are open and highlights key panels and events for the day (usually those that involve any of the GOHs).
  2. Afternoon post: Highlights key evening panels and events.

Twitter and Mastodon

Twitter and Mastodon get at least one post per hour that the convention has active programming. Each hour's post highlights one panel or event (or more if space allows) beginning the next hour (for example, a post scheduled for noon would say something like, "Coming up at 1pm at #nwc45, catch our Writer GOH @FamousAuthor for their Q&A session in Evergreen 2&3!"). After an initial pass is done filling out the on-the-hour posts, a second pass can be done to add more posts for the half hours to highlight more events. Usually two posts each hour (one at the top, and one at the half-hour mark) is enough for what we want to highlight, but there have been instances where posts have gone out at the :20 and :40 minute points, and some that got four posts at the :00, :15, :30, and :45 minute points. This is left up to the discretion of the scheduler and the requests of the Programming and Special Events departments.

Social Media Post Writing Guidelines

URLs must always be written out ("find this at"). None of our most-used social media accounts support embedded links (blue underlined words).

(If you are writing something for the newsletter or a weblog post where embedded links are allowed: If a link is included in the text, the text about/around the link should be descriptive. The Berkely web accessibility site has good information on why "click here" should not be used.)

If the post refers to a NWC-connected individual (particularly former GOHs), it's best to include a mention of why we're mentioning them if space allows. For example, "...#nwc42 Special Guest Nancy Pearl...". If you need to look up when a particular GOH attended, the NWC history page is a good resource.

If you want to include a "contact" link for Norwescon, linking to the Contact Info page will load with the form set to send to the general-purpose info@ address. To get a link to a specific department, go to the org chart, right-click on the link for the department you want, and copy that link. This will add extra arguments to the contact URL so that the contact info page loads with the form set to the proper department. For example, will load the page with the contact form already set to send to "Publications".


References to Norwescon should use the proper hashtag (such as #nwc44). References to very early years should still be hashtagged; do not use a leading zero (#nwc3).

Hashtags should be organically incorporated into the body of the post whenever possible, but should prioritize #readability over hashtagging.

Multi-word hashtags should always use #CamelCase for accessibility: Screen readers will try to read #ahashtaglikethis as if it were a single word, but will read #AHashtagLikeThis as four separate words.

For Twitter and Facebook, adding extra hashtags to the end of a post is acceptable if directly relevant, but can be seen as spammy if overused. Instagram is more accepting of grouped hashtags, with the convention that any hashtags not included in the body of the post should be listed at the end of the post after a line or two of period spacers:

...and this is the last sentence of my example Instagram post!
#norwescon #writing #cosplay #SciFi #fantasy #OtherExamples

@ Tags

People and organizations can be @-tagged/mentioned on Twitter, Instagram, and Mastodon if their handles are known.

Technically it's possible on Facebook as well, but is more likely to go sideways when automated, so we usually don't bother unless entering a post into Facebook by hand instead of using an external bulk scheduling service.

Site-specific Guidelines


Twitter has a 280 character limit. URLs are shortened to 22 characters. Therefore, main text should be kept to 280 characters if no URL is being included, or 257 characters (22 characters for the URL plus one space for separation) if a URL is being included.

Up to four images can be included per Tweet. We usually stick with one, but sometimes vary that.


Mastodon has a 500 character limit. URLs are always counted as 23 characters (but are not obscured through a URL shortening service like Twitter's). Main text should be kept to 500 characters if no URL is being included, or 477 with a URL (or, if you're including multiple URLs, just keep dropping 23 characters for each one).

Up to four images can be included per Toot. We usually stick with one, but sometimes vary that.


Facebook has a 5,000 character limit. URLs are attached to the end, and do not impact the character count.

One link OR one image can be attached. If an image is attached, any links must be included in the body of the post as bare URLs.

Only one URL can be attached. Other URLs can be included in the body of the post, but will show the bare URL and will not get the fancy generated photo-and-link card at the end of the Facebook post.


Instagram has a 2,200 character limit. URLs in Instagram posts are NOT clickable, and as such, are essentially pointless; it's best to just tell people where to go ("our/their website", etc.).

Instagram posts MUST include an image. Images should be square.