Assuming you want them to, how do you get people to blog? It’s a challenge facing most community editors, particularly as they seek to encourage a conversation with readers for whom WordPress or Blogger are still too fiddly.
Enter Posterous, a fantastically intuitive, quick and easy blogging platform. Scrapping the need for registration, or even the need to go onto the web, this has the potential to be a mass blogging tool – as well as a great tool for blogging on the move.
To start a blog all a user has to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A blog is created for them with their email as the first post (the subject line is the title).
It gets better: if you email photos, video or audio it is automatically embedded in a Flash player. Link to a YouTube, Google Video, Justin.TV, Vimeo or Omnisio video and it’s automatically embedded as well. Send more than one image and a gallery is created. PDFs, PowerPoint and Word documents are also embedded using previous SFTW Scribd.
As for the conversation? You can have comments emailed to you, and can reply by simply responding back to the email. And the site has social networking functions, with user profiles and the ability to follow other users if you register.
TechCrunch also reports that “new features will be launched over the summer, says co-founder Sachin Agarwal, including customized CSS and the ability to cross post to other blogging platforms.” This last piece may well persuade me to move off WordPress. It’s that good.
As for its business model: ReadWriteWeb says the site was founded with “about $15,000 in seed capital. Posterous is currently free and plans to start selling premium features in the future.”
The one downside is a potential vulnerability to fake posting by people using masked email addresses, although they would have to know what the address was first (I’m using a bespoke email address for mine).
Here are just some implications that spring to mind:
- if you meet someone you think would be a great blogger, just ask them to send an email to that address, and forward the reply (which tells you what your blog address is).
- If they have a document you’d like to put online, do the same (in other words, easy webpage creation rather than blog creation)
- There is massive potential for blogging on the move – particularly the ability to email replies to comments.
- This also makes group blogging much easier, as you simply have to register all contributors’ email addresses.
- For example: record a phonecall interview on your N95, then email it to the blog.
- You could set up an email feed from another blog using Feedburner or xFruits to cross-post into Posterous
- Or simply forward emails, e.g. press releases, email interviews, that you want your readers to see verbatim.
And I’m sure there are plenty of other possibilities – let me know your ideas.
UPDATE: Jon Hickman has been putting it through its paces and has a list of pros and cons:
1. It doesn’t create a hyperlink in my bio where I have placed a URL
2. It doesn’t pull in feeds or sets from flickr intelligently, and create a gallery3. Creating a gallery via email is difficult because it will be limited by how many pictures you can fit through your mail server in one go4. Why doesn’t it even pull in individual flickr images when I post it a URL (it does this with YouTube after all). The only way to do it is to get a link that resolves .jpg, ie click onto the image page and extract the link from the options at the bottom5. once I have made a gallery I can’t change the pictures6. where’s the themes????good things;1. easy2. multiple email addresses support3. rss feed – so might be useful to aggregate content that is emailable and pull into other things (like the project I’m doing with Jezz…)