SMS Guidelines

This page will show you how to create and format SMS articles. These are very unique articles with very specific rules. Follow these instructions exactly to successfully create an SMS article.

1. General Instructions

1.1 Here is an example SMS article. This is what your final product should look like.

1.2 To begin, choose an overarching theme you want your SMS article to be about. For example, sibling text fails, worst autocorrect fails in history, worst breakup texts, etc.

1.3 Find example conversations online. They should be neither too long nor too short, i.e. one conversation should fit in one screenshot.

1.4 Recreate these conversations on your smartphone. There are two different ways to go about this. If you are not well-versed in Photoshop, you may be better off with Technique 1. If you are very familiar with Photoshop, Technique 2 may be easiest for you.

2. Technique 1.

2.1 To recreate the conversations, the fastest way to do it is to text yourself. You can do this by texting your email address. When you send a text to your email address, all you have to do is type in your email address. You will receive it in your phone as another message.

2.2 If the contact info is relevant to your SMS article, you must change the name of the contact. If the contact info is not relevant to your SMS article, go to step three. Go to the contact details for your email address and change the name. For example, if an SMS article is about mom text fails, then change the contact info to “Mom.” That way, when you text your email address, it comes up as being from “Mom.” You can also change your own contact information by asking Siri to change your nickname. Prompt Siri, and say “Siri, change my name to [desired name here].” Your own number will then show up as that name when you text yourself from your email address.

2.3 Recreate the conversation in your phone. Take a screenshot and email it to a place where you will be able to access Photoshop.

2.4 Open each screenshot in Photoshop. To set the photo, click “Enter,” then “Command + Shift + E.”

2.5 Erase all personal details. Using the eyedropper tool, click on the color that matches the background with all the personal information (cell carrier, battery info, time, etc.). Then click on the brush tool and erase all cell carrier information, the time and the battery information. Only the name of the contact, plus “Messages” and “Details” should be left. See below for an example.

mom-text-fail-2-ppcorn

2.6 Once you have done that, save your screenshot by clicking “Shift + Command + S.” Save it with a name that is relevant to your article. For example, the above screenshot should be saved as “mom-fail-1-ppcorn.jpg” Always end the name of your photo files with “-ppcorn.”

2.7 Once you click “Save,” a window will pop up that prompts you to select image quality. You must save the image as less than 300kb, but try to get as close to 300kb as possible.

2.8 Repeat this process for each screenshot.

2.9 You can follow the steps in the Upload Manual to create a new post and insert your screenshots, with one exception: when you insert your screenshots, you will have to insert them at a Custom Size instead of Full Size. Type in “400” for Width, and the Height will update automatically. Next to “Link to,” select “None.” Insert your screenshots.

2.10 To create your featured image, choose a screenshot of a conversation with only two or three lines. Drag the screenshot over Template 1 in Photoshop.

2.11 To fit the screenshot to the template, hold down the “Shift” key and drag the screenshot to a bigger size from one of its four corners.

2.12 Once the screenshot fits the template without looking too blurry (it’s OK if the screenshot is partially cut off or doesn’t completely fit the template yet), click “Enter,” then “Shift + Command + E” to layer the screenshot over the template.

2.13 To unify the background colors, select the eyedropper tool, and click over the background color of the screenshot.

2.14 Select the brush tool, and color over any other background that doesn’t match the background color of the screenshot. Your final image should look like the image below.

sms-mom-fail-ppcorn

2.15 Complete the rest of your post in accordance with the Upload Manual.

3. Technique 2

3.1 To recreate the conversations, the fastest way to do it is to text yourself. You can do this by texting your email address. When you send a text to your email address, all you have to do is type in your email address. You will receive it in your phone as another message.

3.2 Recreate the conversation in your phone. Take a screenshot and email it to a place where you will be able to access Photoshop.

3.3 Open each screenshot in Photoshop. To set the photo, click “Enter,” then “Command + Shift + E.”

3.4 Erase all personal details. Using the eyedropper tool, click on the color that matches the background with all the personal information (cell carrier, battery info, time, etc.). Then click on the brush tool and erase all cell carrier information, the time and the battery information. Only the name of the contact, plus “Messages” and “Details” should be left. See below for an example.

mom-text-fail-2-ppcorn

3.5 If you have to change the contact information for the concept of your SMS post, go ahead and erase the contact information as well. Use the Horizontal Type Tool (capital T) to set up a text box where the contact information should be.

3.6 Find a font that looks exactly like the contact information in your phone. Type in the name of the contact. This may take several tries to perfect. [e.g. If you’re using an iPhone, Helvetica Neue Medium in 36 pt should work.] You must make it look exactly like the interface on your phone.

3.7 Once you have done that, save your screenshot by clicking “Shift + Command + S.” Save it with a name that is relevant to your article. For example, the above screenshot should be saved as “mom-fail-1-ppcorn.jpg” Always end the name of your photo files with “-ppcorn.”

3.8 Once you click “Save,” a window will pop up that prompts you to select image quality. You must save the image as less than 300kb, but try to get as close to 300kb as possible.

3.9 Repeat this process for each screenshot.

3.10 You can follow the steps in the Upload Manual to create a new post and insert your screenshots, with one exception: when you insert your screenshots, you will have to insert them at a Custom Size instead of Full Size. Type in “400” for Width, and the Height will update automatically. Next to “Link to,” select “None.” Insert your screenshots.

3.11 To create your featured image, choose a screenshot of a conversation with only two or three lines. Drag the screenshot over Template 1 in Photoshop.

3.12 To fit the screenshot to the template, hold down the “Shift” key and drag the screenshot to a bigger size from one of its four corners.

3.13 Once the screenshot fits the template without looking too blurry (it’s OK if the screenshot is partially cut off or doesn’t completely fit the template yet), click “Enter,” then “Shift + Command + E” to layer the screenshot over the template.

3.14 To unify the background colors, select the eyedropper tool, and click over the background color of the screenshot.

3.15 Select the brush tool, and color over any other background that doesn’t match the background color of the screenshot. Your final image should look like the image below.

sms-mom-fail-ppcorn

3.16 Complete the rest of your post in accordance with the Upload Manual.