Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Really Liking Posterous

A co-worker sent me a pretty excited email about Posterous late one night a couple of weeks ago, and he was still excited about it in the morning (you know how that late-night browsing can make things look better than they really are ...), so I decided to give it a shot.

At first glance it looked pretty buzzwordy: Lifestreaming? What does that even mean? But as I looked into it and started playing around with it, I had that combined "this is very cool" and "why didn't anyone do this before" feeling that I get when I sense I'm about to really like something.

The premise is dead simple, as most successful premises are. We all (well, us geeks anyway) have a minimum of four or five different places where we post "stuff." That stuff can be a blog post, a tweet, a photo, a link to something interesting we found on the web, and so forth. And ultimately most of us end up cross-posting to several different places to make sure all the people who might be interested (which is probably fewer than we think ...) will see it.

But there's a lot of overhead associated with all of this. Even with my identi.ca account cross-posting to Twitter, and Twitter cross-posting to Facebook, that still leaves my poor blog out in the cold. Now I could update my aging MachBlog software but that doesn't seem to be happening despite the best of intentions, and ultimately I always have this sense of negative inertia when I want to post something I find interesting, particularly when it's a bit longer than a tweet will allow.

Posterous takes a different approach to the maze of social media and cuts it down to a couple of simple constructs. The first is email. Have something you want to say? Send a post to post@posterous.com and it'll handle the rest. Dead simple idea, but that alone has removed this sense of friction I've always had about posting my thoughts.

For simple blog posts like this one, it's great, but Posterous goes well beyond taking the text of an email and turning it into a blog post. If you want to post anything--and it literally is pretty much anything--to go along with your post, meaning a photo, a video, a document, or whatever, just attach it to your email. Again, kind of a no-brainer but it removes so much of the hassle that it's making blogging (yeah, I know, blogs are dead) fun again.

The second construct Posterous operates around is a bookmarklet in your browser, so if you see something while you're surfing that you want to share, just click a button in your browser, add comments if you like, and hit "Post." The only thing I don't like about this feature is that while you can select extracts, it copies the entire web page onto your Posterous page. Good from the standpoint of it being there if the target page eventually goes away, but I'm wondering about things like copyright, hits to the original page, etc. It does provide a link at the bottom of the post on Posterous, however. Overall though, another very cool feature that makes me much more likely to share cool stuff I happen to find than I would be otherwise.

So, thus far I'm really liking it, and if I continue to like it I may even move my existing blog over to it. Not sure how it handles code at all so I'll have to test that out first, but I'm pondering.

Posterous does a ton more than I can outline here, and much more than I've even investigated, so be sure and check out their FAQs if you're interested in learning more.

When I first got that email from my co-worker I wasn't looking to change how I did all this, but even after the first couple of interactions with Posterous, I got pretty convinced. Still not digging the "lifestreaming" term, but I sure am loving what Posterous does and how it does it.

4 comments:

stevenerat said...

Just learned u r using Posterous (& just learned what that is). Sounds great. Can post HTML? What about code blocks?

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markken said...

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markken said...

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