Blog Post

Posterous + iPhone = Perfect Mobile Platform

posterous_1Much like a migratory bird is genetically driven to fly south for the winter, I am driven to bloviate online. And so over the years I’ve accumulated my fair share of blogging accounts. I’m very active on Twitter, have a WordPress blog, a Flickr account, Facebook, and a rarely-used LiveJournal account. Keeping them all updated is frustrating, though. I’ve ended up just posting to WordPress and using the Twittertools plug-in to feed the post to Twitter (which also feeds into Facebook). It’s not elegant, but it works.

I’ve said before that my iPhone is the command center for my life, and at the same time noted that there’s no real end-to-end solution that will let me blog across all services on the iPhone. The full-featured WordPress site is unbearable, and the iPhone app for the same just doesn’t cut it. I can use the drafts method to get an article off my iPhone and into a better front end, I can use Tweetie for Twitter, and I can easily email photos to my Flickr account. But I was struggling to find a one-button solution, but now I have: Posterous.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you folks: While we at TheAppleBlog pride ourselves on bringing you All Things Apple, All Day Long, this post doesn’t necessarily require a piece of Apple-made (s aapl) technology to work. However, if you’re like me and just like reading fun tales of how people use their iPhones in their daily lives you’ll forgive me this one transgression.

Posterous is the latest entry to the micro/social blogging scene; its closest competitor is Tumblr. I’ve got a Tumblr account and have found it lacking, though I can’t quite put my finger on why. I think when I started using it I was trying to force it into being the one-stop solution it wasn’t. I could get my tweets to work with it, and I could get my WordPress account to suck up the feed and Tumblr to do the same, but it always felt like a duct-taped solution. Part of the problem is Tumblr has a counter called Tumblarity which goes up and down as you use — or don’t use — the tool. I’m OCD and that number’s lack of movement bugged the heck out of me because only posts that originated in Tumblr affected that counter; using the feeds didn’t.

Posterous is shining where Tumblr let me down, thanks to a very ingenious tool: email. I tell Posterous what email addresses to accept missives from and it will then happily feed all of my blogging services the contents of that message. It’ll dump them right into my personal blog, create a self-promotional tweet with a link, upload the photo to my Flickr account, create a LiveJournal post, and (something that keeps my OCD happy) create a Tumblr post in a manner that will make my Tumblarity go up.

If you click on this link to my Posterous account, and the links to all the sites I linked to above, you’ll likely see a post with a picture of a very nice motorcycle. That entire post was created on the iPhone and Posterous did the dirty work of cross-posting. So far, the only negative I’ve seen is just when the photo is uploaded to Flickr — I was hoping the message would get added as commentary.

Since my iPhone is always with me, Posterous is letting me carry through on ‘That’s neat, I should blog about that’ inspirations with a tool that requires no set-up or even an Internet connection until I want to upload. I love that I can see a picture of a neat bike on a street corner, snap the pic and in seconds have all of my blogs updated. With so many friends using different blogging platforms, Posterous feels like the Adium of blogging tools.

35 Responses to “Posterous + iPhone = Perfect Mobile Platform”

  1. is another useful tool to ping your blogs, status, and you name it across your social networks and blogs as well., i have accounts all across the web, some i am more active than others, but i keep my friends closer by giving them the updates through

  2. Pankaj, thank you for your kind words about OurDoings. In defense of Posterous, their iPhone app is useful for occasions when you’re doing live coverage of an event and don’t have time to switch into mail. On those occasions you wouldn’t have time to input descriptions anyway. If that’s not what you want to do, then you’re right, there’s no reason to stop using their excellent email interface in favor of the app.

  3. Talking about iPhone app for prosterous here. The app is seriously lacking in usability. The photos can’t be labeled or tagged with any description. I have tried posting 2 photos but they failed to show up quickly enough. If I have multiple sites, where do these photos go? They go the main site. How do I change that behavior. Where does the location info go?
    Photo microblogging is done very well by ourdoings folks.
    Posterous iPhone app has limitations, considering how powerful a device is iPhone. I don’t see any reason they should have a native app. iPhone’s mail app is their official App!!

    • the point here is to make posting sets *super* easy. Instead of waiting until the end of an event to post a series of photos, post them as you go. I don’t want to be bothered with adding captions

      You can pick which site they post to in the app

  4. Ugh. I don’t get it. Why would anybody want to post something to all those services at once? If I saw somebody doing that, I’d probably stop following/defriend/block them.

    Seriously, different services are for different uses. They’re not all the same thing.

    Using Posterous in this way is, to me, spamming. And I block spammers.

    • Mark Crump

      I have one group of RL friends who are only on LiveJournal. Another group who are only on Facebook, Twitter, etc. My “business facing” blog is on WordPress. Plus, I like storing my photos on Flickr.

      Posterus lets me update all those at once.

  5. After reading this article on the AppleBlog I decided to test out the claims made about posting to Tumblr and Posterous. I have had accounts on both for sometime (a bit longer on Tumblr) and use Posterous as a mirror for my Tumblr. The image (should be aligned to the right of this text) is a screen capture from the AppleBlog posting. I emailed this post to both Tumblr and Posterous from with text coloring and sizing.

    Tumblr loses this one. See the results here: and here:

  6. Good article on Posterous Mark. I have really just started using it and am very pleased with how it is simplifying the publishing process.

    The fact that Sachin (Posterous) has responded to users on this thread more than once today shows just how engaged and connected this service is with its users.

  7. I think this is a great site and idea but I have two problems/questions:

    1. Why is the video in Flash when you can use h.264? It means that other iPhone users can’t view the video.
    2. Can you upload to Vimeo or YouTube because I didn’t see it on the site?

  8. I’ve been using Posterous for quite a while now and I love it completely. Sachin and the team are quick to respond to requests and added AudioBoo for example just hours after I contacted them about it.

    The only thing that bugs me is the lack of formatting in iPhone Mail in terms of justification (for photos), bold, italics and linking. Hopefully soon. Otherwise, the iPhone and Posterous are a fantastic blogging swiss army knife.

  9. My problem is that I am anal-retentive and I want my formatting exactly perfect with justified alignment and the picture in the spot that I want it, so I think I would use the app on iPhone to read other blogs, but continue to post through email and then once the post uploads, go back and format it. Heh heh.

    • Mark Crump

      Yeah, I got in a catch-22. I submitted the piece a while ago and wasn’t sure how editorial was gonna screenshot it, and I wanted to keep it “fresh” for when people went to compare.

  10. Lame. I’ve been using Tumblr’s email posting for two years. I’m sure that’s where Posterous ripped it from. And Tumblr’s iPhone app is killer, so I’m not sure what this post is about.

    • Emailing to Posterous isn’t just a feature, like it is on other sites. It’s what we focus on, and where we excel.

      In a single email, you can send multiple photos, video, audio, docs, and links. We’ll do the right thing with everything you send us, there are no limits.

      Do you have an iPhone 3GS? You should try emailing us video. We’ll orient it correctly, and it even plays in mobile safari. It’s much better than what other services do.

    • Chief,

      Emailing to most blog sites is crap. It’ll get the text there, but that’s about it. Tumblr is no exception. Big deal.

      Posterous, on the other hand, uses the Rich Text formatting in your email and translates it beautifully to your blog post. See this example:

      The above post was written in email. Font size, bold, italic, indents, bulleted lists, even a font change were all taken perfectly from the email.

      I’ve also played with picture placements as well, you can center, left- or right-justify a picture pasted in an email. Further, paste in pretty much any file and Posterous just handles it like it should.

      As I said before, Posterous is actually better at posting on Tumblr than Tumblr is. The latter’s tools are primitive compared to Posterous, which is way out ahead of the pack on this.

  11. I’ve been using Posterous for about six weeks, and already have ~150 posts (non-tech stuff).

    I also tried Tumblr, and I honestly don’t see why anyone would use that service after using Posterous. In my opinion they’re not even close.

    In fact, Posterous is better at posting to Tumblr than Tumblr is (all my Tumblr updates are via Posterous now).

    One other thing, the Posterous bookmarklet is a great way to post. It’s so smart and easy. I even gave it a command key in Safari to further simplify matters.