Making WordPress act like Posterous

I think Posterous is a great platform, and a really simple and flexible way to start (or reinvigorate) a blog. I started using it because it lets you post by email, and tell it where you want your text and photos to go. So if I take a picture of The Boy and want to put it on Facebook and Flickr, I email it to Posterous knows my email address and thus knows how to find my particular Posterous site.

Here’s the only thing I don’t like: If I post a photo via Posterous to my (this) blog, the photo doesn’t live here, it lives at Posterous and links from here to there. Now I wish the Posterous folks a long and prosperous career, and from what I’ve seen (and the support I’ve gotten when asking questions) they deserve it.

But if they go away, I don’t want my photos to go with them. Even if they don’t go away, I want control of my own photos. I’ve had a blog on Typepad since 2003 and the only reason I’m still paying the $8.95 a month is because all my images are there. I don’t want that to happen again.

So here’s what I want. I want to be able to use this blog just like Posterous. I want to be able to post a photo or text via email and/or a Web and iPhone app and tell it where I want it to go: blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or some combination of the above.

I want to be able to tag the post and decide what category it goes in.

If it’s a photo, I want it to come in full size in Facebook, because I’ve noticed that people don’t comment so much on the smaller photos.

If it’s text, I want it to come into Facebook and look the same way a status update does, because I’ve noticed I get far fewer Facebook comments on my Networked Blogs posts than on a status update or Facebook note. I think as Facebook traffic builds, people are less likely to click on something that takes them out of their stream and away from Facebook.

All of these services have “post here and have it go somewhere else” features or plug-ins. You can post to Flickr and have it post automatically to Twitter. You can post to a WordPress blog and have it automatically tweeted. You can pull your tweets in as your status updates.

I think what I need to do is sit down and map out all the content I share and where I’d like it to go, and see what paths are available. My, doesn’t that sound like fun? Of course, if someone out there has this all figured out, let me know.

Refocusing on my blog and trying new tools

When I spent some time with Chris Brogan in December, we talked about blogs and sharing tools like Posterous, and the different ways people use them. Chris thinks people are diluting their web presences by posting in too many places. (You can watch him say this yourself.) “Home is where the web page is,” he summed up nicely.

I had a blog on Typepad for many years. When I finally decided to move to this self-hosted WordPress blog you’re looking at, I realized I could import all my old posts, but all my photos were stuck. I looked into methods for bringing them over and found one small company that will do it for you, but admits it’s such a massive pain that they charge a lot, since they don’t really want to do it. (They even provide the step-by-step instructions, which run to about 50 steps.)

I really like Posterous, its simple interface, the web-based tools that allow you to share pictures and videos quickly, and the ability to post by email to multiple places. But I’m afraid that if I get too tied in to Posterous, one day I might have the same issue that I had with Typepad.

So here I am once again, using precious toddler napping time to mess with my blog. I just installed the TweetMe plugin, which should send out a tweet announcing this post once it goes up. (This whole post started out as a test of that function, but I got carried away.)

I like this blog. I like the idea that it will continue to grow, and that it will continue to be my home base as new tools emerge, rather than just another outpost I used for a while and abandoned when something more exciting came along.

By the way, my thanks once again to my friend Jeff Cohen from I posted on Twitter that I was looking for the right tools to do this, and he called me within a few minutes to talk me through it. Good man.

I’m feeling a little too connected

Six months or so ago I created a FriendFeed account, because lots of people were saying it was better than Twitter. I set it up to pull in all my accounts, including my Netflix queue (why?), then pretty much left it alone.

Earlier this week I set up a Posterous account, linked it to all my other accounts and set up all the different email addresses I could use to send posts to whatever combination of accounts I could imagine (Flickr+Blogger+Facebook, Twitter+Wordpress, etc.). Then I realized I don’t really need to do that.

This morning I sent an @ reply on Twitter to Louis Gray, who I follow but don’t actually know. It was just a quick joke in response to something he’d said. I got home tonight and saw in my Gmail account a message from him, via Friendfeed, asking if I was both David and Angela. What?

I followed the link to FriendFeed where my tweets are showing up in someone else’s stream. After an hour of digging around, I think I figured it out. It’s a feed set up by someone I know to pull in SAS-related tweets around our annual user conference. But if you look at the stream, they all seem to be coming from her. Just a small peculiarity, but it seems that if you @ reply someone on Twitter who you are mutually subscribed to on FriendFeed, it compounds the confusion.

Did that make any sense to you? If so, I will pay you money to explain it to me. As I am writing this blog post, she and I are direct messaging back and forth on Twitter trying to figure it out.

The whole exercise made me feel kind of nuts, like having an anxiety dream where you realize you forgot to drop a class and didn’t actually graduate. (I’d been out of college for ten years before I stopped having that dream.)

I have three computers and an iPhone. I have two separate contact lists, six email addresses (not including LinkedIn and Facebook email and Twitter direct messages), and more social media/social network accounts than I could probably count. I have unread messages in something like eight different places. (My apologies to anyone I owe a reply to on BrightKite or Audioboo.) Let’s not even talk about my RSS reader. Or all the barely-touched sharing apps on my iPhone that are supposed to make all of this easier.

I need a break. This is starting to feel a bit like a compulsion. My wife, I feel comfortably certain, would not argue.

What’s the larger message here, just to try to tie this rant/cry for help back to the theme of this blog?

You don’t have to do everything.

Take a look at what other people and organizations like yours are doing, and pick a few that seem to make sense for you. These days you can’t go too far wrong by focusing on blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Concentrate on those (or just one or two to start), on getting comfortable with them, building a network and providing value in those channels.

Other than a very few people who base their reputation on being on the cutting edge of social media marketing, nobody has to be active in all the available spaces.

Keep it simple and enjoy it.

Originally published on Conversations & Connections, my SAS social media blog

What’s your dirty little secret?

I just read a great post from David Armano called “Social Media’s Top 10 Dirty Little Secrets,” pointing out some of the things many of us are thinking but not saying. I, for one, am getting tired of the social media fishbowl where “experts” share their opinions on the necessity of cutting edge tools and techniques that those of us in the real world are nowhere near ready to adopt. I alluded to that in my “Stop telling me what to do” post.

And yes, I’m ready for a lull in new technologies. I’m already behind on figuring out Friendfeed and now I feel like I need to get on top of Posterous. In reality probably the best thing I could be doing is reading more blogs and writing more in this one. I tell people all the time that “blog posts don’t have to be white papers” and offer tips for writing more frequently, yet I’ll go a week or two (or more) without posting.

I guess you can’t call that my dirty little secret, since it’s right out here on the Internet for people to see.

What’s yours?

Originally published on Conversations & Connections, my SAS social media blog