Playing around with Posterous – and finding that it might just work for me

If you haven’t checked out Posterous yet, you should. Inspired by Steve Rubel’s move to this service, I’ve been playing around with it and loving the functionality. In essence its a very simple blogging platform that allows you to post via email, beautifully presents your media content and allows you to syndicate it easily to your other online presences.
I’ve always been a casual blogger (though 150 posts in two years isn’t too shabby, especially as I haven’t really spent much time writing here for the last six months) and before Whitehall Webby I had a few different blogging sites set up that allowed me space to blog about non-government stuff.
Now that I am no longer a civil servant, I’ve been rethinking how I might use this site. I’ve been working on a refresh of the design that is almost complete (guess what webbies. Its the content thats not quiet finished – sound familiar?).
There are a lot of things I want to highlight that aren’t about my work, but Whitehall Webby has always been a space for me to talk about work stuff and I’m not sure that I want to expand that focus just yet (though of course, I’m not working at the moment). Whilst Posterous is incredibly flexible, it doesn’t quite give me enough in terms of customisation that would persuade me to move my main domain there.
But I still want to capture stuff, comment on things, or highlight items of interest to me. So I’m going to give Posterous a go for that kind of content.
I’m cross-posting this but I’m not planning to regularly re-post stuff on Whitehall Webby from my Posterous site.
Whitehall Webby is/ will remain my work thoughts / portfolio / site for the time being. Jezzag.com (an old nickname if you want to know) is for the other stuff. You can subscribe to a feed there too if you are so inclined but if you are in any way connected to me online you probably don’t need to.
S’all for now….
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  1. Posterous is nice enough, but last time I checked, your couldn’t do anything with the template at all, with the result that all Posterous sites look the same, which is a bit lame to say the least.

  2. True enough – but that seems to be coming according to the blog. Its the inherent flexibility of the platform that is so exciting – particularly the ability to embed/ export stuff to your other online ‘homes’.

    Its not very often that I actually look at people’s own sites nowadays, and increasingly its not via my RSS reader. So Posterous enables me to pull in content and syndicate on the fly which is quite neat.

    Whether it will develop enough to do what I want it to do is a moot point. At the moment its an experiment but I’m liking it the more I use it. The only slight problem I have had so far is that every tool is connected to everything else. So when I post there it pings stuff to my twitter feed, facebook and friendfeed. But they also all feed each other which is confusing. I need to think that through a little bit and decide which is the master and which is the slave.

      • Warren Pearce
      • July 22nd, 2009

      You can sort out the connectivity thing through using variations on the email address (see the Mashable article below).

      The functionality they’ve got on there *far* outstrips the lack of customisation.

      Let’s compare: in WordPress if I want an embedded iPaper doc, I have to upload it to Scribd, get the WP embed code, copy and paste to WP back-end, publish post. In Posterous, email it as an attachment -> *automatic* iPaper embed is done on the site. Ditto with great gallery presentation of images on Posterous making WP look rather linear in comparison.

      Plus, you can get Google Analytics on your Posterous blog. In light of which perhaps WP should at least revise the tone of this reply: http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/08/03/can-i-use-google-analytics/

      I know from reading around that WP is a very versatile platform, and I have no coding expertise whatsoever so defer to others’ expertise in that area. However, for my needs, having used Posterous for a week, I can’t see any reason to persist with WordPress. Unless I’ve missed something?

      • I agree Warren – and it is likely that customisation will be added in teh future. My coding experience is pretty poor too, though I can find myself around the back end of WordPress, but WordPress (particularly the self-hosted version) is a different beast altogether from Posterous. Its incredibly flexible and has a virtually limitless feature set with the plug ins available. That said, I am still very much enjoying Posterous. And of course, competition is always good!

  3. Good to see you using Posterous. Myself I have been using Posterous personally and professionally. One personal level Posterous has been a great way for me to get some film reviews up quickly. After a film I can just email my review into Posterous. Once the this has posted to Posterous i can tweet a link.

    Few things like about Posterous (no particular order)

    1. Emailing in content is just great as I am used to e-mailing my writing style is kind of relaxed as I doing something i would do for a friend, just email my thoughts on a film or topic. But this email will appear as web content.

    2. Posterous renders pictures and videos nicely when they are published.

    3. Professionally a feature I really like about Posterous is the ability to create a password protected blog. Once you have created a private blog on Posterous you can give the password to a few people who are allowed to view the blog posts. Better is to create contributers to the protected blog. Contributers can e-mail in a contribution to the Posterous blog and all contributers will be notified by email of a new contribution. The text of which is contained within the e-mail. They can if the wish by reply to this e-mail post a comment.

    One way this could work is to use Posterous to create a blog with a few users contributing training material, tips or are working on a project. For example you can e-mail in Slideshare shows and they come up nice on Posterous.

    I also like Tumblr http://salosong.tumblr.com/ what I detect with both Posterous and Tumblr is more people just want to post web content quickly and perhaps do not not want the hassle of maintaining a WordPress Blog Shrine.

    Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/shane_dillon

  4. Spot on Shane. The collaborative aspect is incredibly strong. Last time I checked Tumblr didn’t allow comments which always seemed to me to be a shortcoming. Your point about the writing style is interesting too.

  5. Jeremy,

    I like Posterous. The media handling is a cool thing.

    I came across this comparison with Tumblr last week

    http://mashable.com/2009/06/29/posterous-vs-tumblr/

    I wonder when threaded conversations will ever come to blogs, and they can start to really work as a collaborative tool?

    Anyhow, more thoughts on that on my blog http://paulgeraghty.posterous.com/i-come-to-bury-blogs-not-praise-them

    Paul

    • I think for that Paul I’ll do you the courtesy of replying on your shiny new blog :)

  6. Agree with Warren ipaper renders nicely on Posterous. However as I think about these tools more I would not want to set up a WordPress v Posterous scenario. Posterous and Tumblr are perhaps going after a different audience. That is those who want to generate content quickly and what better way to do it via e-mail.

    However what both of these tools do is to encourage others who are not into coding or managing a blog to post content to Posterous. If you make some a contributer on Posterous should they reply above the line to a post e-mailed to them then Posterous will create a new blog entry on that site. This is great for building a small community of interest around a tool. However as someone who manages a private Posterous site professionally you need someone to keep an eye on the posts. Yes, I act as a sort of editor even on Posterous. I go into a post sent via email by a member and tidy it up.

    The ease of use gets people who would otherwise not write for the web to generate web content. Why? because all they need to do is email the content into Posterous. Or on Tumblr the ease of use requires little training to be done.

    The Foreign Office power there Press Office Views on the News by using Tumblr http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/fcointhenews/

    Tumblr and Posterous afford a way perhaps to create an emergency back up site if your main site went down in an emergency situation. Fast moving emergency, no website, Tumblr might give you an option.

    Lastly, you see sometimes on the front page of websites logos like ‘Powered by Wordpres’ or ‘Powered by Morello’ when will a corporate or govt webite simply say Powered by Tumblr. Ok I am being trivial this will not happen but with money tight organisations will take advantage perhaps.

      • Warren Pearce
      • July 23rd, 2009

      Its a fair point re WP v Posterous perhaps being a false choice, and I have no personal experience of the self-hosted WP. However, the latter often isn’t a v attractive option, especially for small organisations.

      Re-reading my comment, I was a bit feisty in my defence of WP, but felt like I had to point out that its current uni-template(?!) Achilles isn’t a reason to disregard it. It’s all about the content after all :)

      Shane,that’s why your ‘ease of use’ comment is spot on. The challenge of getting potential blog contributors to actually *write something* shouldn’t be underestimated. Having to get to grips with a new admin system to do this just places another barrier in the way of those people who are probably not very tech-savvy to start with. That’s why ‘post by email’ is such an important development, and the Posterous treatment of attachments etc gives it such an advantage.

      More intuitive/less geeky = good :)

      PS Autoposting between sites could let you have a back-up Tumblr or Posterous all ready to go in case the WP went down.

  7. Points taken Warren. Re: autoposting – its not that simple I don’t think. I push twitter updates into Facebook (and Friendfeed but I haven’t set the latter up in Posterous) and want to continue it because I get a fair spread of comments / traffic from them there. But I also like the way posterous embeds stuff into Facebook so I’d like a way to prevent Twitter ‘forwarding on’ posterous links to Facebook… Oh well :)

    • Mmm, takes a bit of getting to grips with, have autoposted things to Twitter a couple of times by accident.

      Sounds like it might be a job for Pipes?

  8. Deffo something Need to spend a bit of time thinking about that.

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