Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creating a Group Blog with Posterous

It started a few weeks ago, when the lovely Carlen Lesser sent around a team e-mail about the next “big thing:” a blogging service called Posterous. Would we, she asked, be interested in setting up a group blog on the site and playing around with it? Being the new girl on the team, I offered to take the lead in creating a group Interactive Strategies blog.

Posterous’s big draw is that it offers blogging-on-the-go: you can e-mail pictures, links and music or media files to your Posterous blog and it automatically turns it into a blog post. This makes it the perfect way to enhance your regular blog or create an “on-the-go” blog with your mobile phone.

But before I sat down to actually create our blog, I did a little research. And it turns out that Posterous might be all sizzle and no steak. Even though they came into the spotlight when Edelman Digital’s Steve Rubel famously moved his blog to Posterous, their claim that older blogging platforms like Tumblr or Blogger are “dead” has attracted a lot of negative attention. Run a search on “Posterous reviews,” and you’ll turn up opinions on both sides of the spectrum.

Armed with this knowledge, I sat down to create our team blog. But several days, Google searches, and rounds of “How do I…? “ later, I had to trouble.

The Good:
The degree of e-mail integration: Not only does Posterous embed video and music files within the post (features you can set up with Blogger, but to a limited degree), but when we linked to a page, Posterous was also able to embed the actual page within the post. Very cool.
The customer service: In messing with the site, I sent several e-mails to the general help@posterous.com address. Each time, my question was answered by an individual within a few hours.

The Bad:
Creating a team blog: This gave us a lot of difficulty. Members had to create a Posterous account to gain full access to the team blog, and even when they did respond to the invitation that I, as the moderator, sent, there were difficulties in some cases where Posterous wouldn't link to their profile or acknowledge them as contributors.
o Access levels: There was also no way to create "limited access" accounts for our interns.
Drafts: Posterous also doesn’t let you save drafts to come back and edit later. I guess you could do this yourself by saving a draft on your e-mail, but it’s a shame that the site doesn’t let you.
Themes. The themes were difficult to customize and not very useful or, in many cases, attractive. And when you're creating a blog that wants to stand out, that's a problem.

The Verdict:
Posterous is a great service with a lot of promising features, and its convenience level and the way it supports videos, music, links and audio files makes it a lot of fun - so much fun, that I'm considering it for personal use. But it's just not ready for the “group blog” format that we wanted to use it for.

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