by Jennifer Van Grove (MASHABLE)
There’s something interesting happening in the space between Twitter () and a full blown blog. We’re seeing more and more of our social friends turn to sites like Posterous () for 140 character plus musings, or simple and fast photo and video sharing.
Whether you need a little more space to create a lifestream that serves as a compliment to your Twitter presence, or you’re looking to totally replace your existing personal or group blog, Posterous makes the transition and posting process dead simple. The Posterous possibilities are endless, and the best part is it that takes very little effort to maintain your site and attract a subscriber base.
We’ll show you how to get started with Posterous and play with some of the more buried features that make it truly remarkable. Use this as your guide to uncovering the gems that make Posterous a glamorous blogging alternative and the email-to-blog-to-everywhere platform that strips the hassle out of blogging.
Send an email with whatever content you’d like — photos, videos, text, documents, audio, music — to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s it. Your Posterous is alive and well, no account registration required.
Of course, if you want take advantage of the extra goodies, you’ll need to claim your account, but if all you want is a hassle-free email-to-web blog then you can continue to email email@example.com, update your site, and live happily ever-after.
Should you claim your Posterous, and we think you should, you’ll want to start by giving it a name, adjusting the site address (whateveryouwant.posterous.com) or adding in a custom domain, tweaking your comment and image/video download settings, and deciding whether you want to keep it password protected or open for the world to see. All of these options are accessible by clicking Manage and then selecting Edit Settings.
Make sure you add the bookmarklet to your browser so that you can do quick web posts while you browse. The browser add-on will grab photos, video, and text from a page, so that you end up with effort-free, content-rich posts.
If your shiny new Posterous is too naked for your liking, you have the option to import content from Blogger (), Tumblr (), WordPress (), Typepad (), Moveable Type, and Xanga (). Go to the import page, select your service, entire your URL, username, and password and then choose to either merge the entire site or just individual posts.
Configure Autoposting Settings
Now that you have your Posterous account setup, you can optionally adjust which social services you’d like to share your content with simultaneously. The essential idea behind autoposting is that you can update Posterous once but distribute your content everywhere, or to the social profiles of your choosing.
From your dashboard, click the “Autopost to Everywhere” option in the right-hand sidebar. You’ll then be directed to your autoposting settings page, where you can click “Add a Service” to autopost to Facebook (), Twitter, FriendFeed (), Jaiku (), Plurk (), Identica, Blogger, Tumblr, Livejournal, Typepad, Xanga, WordPress, Drupal (), Shopify, Flickr (), Picasa, YouTube (), Vimeo (), Scribd, and Delicious ().
Posterous autoposting is intelligent, so if you post videos and you’ve configured your YouTube account, then your videos will be pushed to YouTube as well, no extra work required. The same holds true for the rest of the services, though with sites like Flickr and Facebook you do have additional, optional controls you can tweak to customize what gets posted and how it’s presented.
You’ll also notice that for each service you select, Posterous will monitor whether autoposting is active and let you view recent activity. Should autoposting fail for a particular site, this is the first place you should look when troubleshooting.
Starting a Group or Community Blog
You can have more than one Posterous, so if you want to start a second one for multi-user purposes, just create a new Posterous and configure the settings to allow anyone, or just contributors you specify, to update the site.
When editing your new site preferences, navigate to the “control who can do what” area to specify whether anyone can post or just contributors can post. The former of the options is the perfect way to set up a community powered blog, with submissions that you can moderate. The latter is a fantastic way to turn your Posterous into a group blog that doubles as an email list.
When it comes to adding contributors to a group blog, you’ll simply enter the email addresses of the individuals you’d like to allow to post to the Posterous. They’ll receive an introductory email with information on how to update the site, and then they’ll be able to email the group blog address with their content and have it post to the site. The functionality works just like an email list, so all contributors will receive an email with the new post content when any one of them updates the site.
Using Twitter Apps
Once you start regularly updating your Posterous, you’ll notice that it makes a perfect photo blog and may provide a better way to hold on to your Twittered photos than sites à la TwitPic () that are specifically designed for Twitter photo sharing (one clear bonus is the added traffic and comments to your Posterous site). But, of course you still want to share photos with Twitter, and with Posterous you have an array of options.
The most basic way is the autoposting method described above. Your email or webposts can be configured to autopost to Twitter, no Twitter client needed.
If, however, you find yourself preferring to post photos via Twitter clients, you’ll find that Posterous has been integrated into a number of them as a photo sharing option you can use in lieu of TwitPic.
This means that should you want to share photos with Twitter and have them post to your Posterous simultaneously, you can do so using desktop apps like Seesmic Desktop (), Tweetie () for Mac, and Destroy Twitter, web apps like People Browser, Firefox () tools like Power Twitter, and mobile apps like Gravity for Nokia, and Pichirp Pro, Twitterville, and Simply Tweet for iPhone.
Live Blog Pics and Vids
One of the cooler apps on the iPhone is Posterous’ app, PicPosterous [iTunes link]. It’s not like the typical photo sharing app, and instead turns your iPhone 3GS into a mobile utility for live photo and video blogging, while also transforming a Posterous entry into a dynamic post with fresh content as it happens.
You’re probably pretty familiar with the standard email or web posting options for Posterous, but PicPosterous presents a new option that’s anything but standard. To use it, launch the app and take a photo or video from within the app, or select one from your library. Photos and videos can be shot in landscape or standard mode. Use your first photo or video to create a new album. The content will be posted as a new post to your Posterous.
Should you be chronicling a night on the town, live video blogging a conference, or capturing photos from your family function, you can then update the same album with your new content, and your initial Posterous post will be refreshed with the new updates.
Tips and Tricks
Email Tagging: Tagging posts is the best way for visitors to find content pushed off the main page. Tagging posts via email is a convenient way to ensure that your content gets properly bookmarked and saved when updating on the run.
To tag your email posts, add this syntax to your subject line: ((tag: tagname, tagname2)). It’s that simple.
Custom Email Options: Say you’ve configured your autoposting options but are sharing a pic that you want to post to Posterous, send to Twitter and Flickr, but skip Facebook. With the practically unlimited variety of custom email addresses, you can do just that.
For this particular scenario, instead of emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, send your post to email@example.com. To post only to one particular site, send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org (eg. email@example.com). The options are endless, but the bottom line is that you have complete control over where your content ends up.
Inline Photos: When you post multiple photos via email, Posterous automatically creates a gallery of those images. It’s quite nice to look at but it does force viewers to tab through the gallery to view each photo. If, however, you’d like all your images to appear inline in the same post, minus the gallery, just add this exact syntax to your subject line: ((nogallery)).
Add Analytics: You have a few options for measuring analytics for your Posterous site. You can use their dashboard to get a quick glimpse of site views and page views per post. You can also add in your Google Analytics Domain ID in the settings portion (Manage -> Edit Settings) of your Posterous account.
In addition, Posterous lets you track your RSS feed using Feedburner. Once you burn your Posterous RSS feed, you can paste the new feed URL in the Feedburner box (below the Google Analytics () box) and you’re all set.
Send Google Reader Items to Posterous: Google Reader () recently updated their feed reading app to support sharing your feed items with your social profiles. The new option is called “Send To” and it’s accessible via the Settings tab.
Should you select to enable Send To for Posterous, at the bottom of each item in your reader, you can click Send To to quickly post interesting items to your Posterous.