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.

This design will never be finished

I’ve mentioned before that The Mrs thinks I should consider medication to deal with my Shiny Object Syndrome and my obsession with the tools and techniques of sharing my various types of information online. She might be right. Sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming, then sometimes I think, “Hey, this is my hobby.” Relentless tinkering with one’s blog isn’t any more or less obsessive than building a ship in a bottle, is it?

A few weeks ago I decided to buy the Thesis blog theme (apparently it’s actually a framework, but if you know what that means you probably already knew that). I liked the customization, but it felt a little like overkill because I had every intention of going with a spare, clean, minimal theme like Jeff’s blog. All of the blog designs I’ve bookmarked in the last six months have been a lot like that.

This blog was, too. For about a day. Then I started messing with it. I’ve spent many a late-night hour in the past week, and all my non-dad-or-husband time this weekend, when I shot the photo for the header, designed the header, added the shiny metal background and figured out how to add the icons in the right column. If you had looked at the blog Friday and then again today, it would be a much different beast.

I’m pretty happy with it now and I don’t feel I’ve gone overboard on anything. But who knows. I still feel that instant pang of longing when I see a plain black-and-white theme with no adornment.

As I said in a comment on Jeff’s blog, It’s the same principle that makes me want to shave my head whenever I realize I need a haircut.

Blogging from my iPhone

Just got a new iPhone app called BlogPress that allows you not only to post to a blog and upload photos, but also attach and embed video. The photos and videos are embedded in the blog and sent to your preferred hosting service (Flickr, YouTube).

I like that idea, because I’m getting more and more worried about having my content spread to the four corners of the Web. The whole point of reinvigorating this blog was to have a central hub that I controlled, where all the content resided.

This is really just a test post that got out of hand.

Blogging irony

I decided to change the theme of this blog to the Thesis theme for WordPress, after hearing so many good things about it, and watching a demo. So far, I like it. It gives much more control over a lot of basic functions, and has a control panel front end for things that you would ordinarily have to do with .php or CSS or CSI Miami or blah blah blah I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’ve stayed up late a couple of nights working on the blog, and I still have a lot of things I want to do. I imported our Blogger blog (not sure if that looks or sounds sillier) that is mostly a stream of photos of The Boy, and I want to exclude that category of posts from the homepage, so that not everyone who comes here has to look at photos of the cutest child in the world. That sounds awful, but you know what I mean.

Still figuring out how to make that happen. I just tried adding a piece of .php code that I found in a Thesis support forum using the “oh hell, I don’t know, maybe I’ll just stick it in this file and see what happens” method. Thanks to Jeff Cohen for helping me fix my blog, which immediately turned into a blank white page that said, “Idiot idiot idiot idiot” across the top, only written in code.

The irony, of course, is that I’ve been staying up late to work on the blog, which means I haven’t written anything for the blog. I hope to get back to writing again soon. Once I finish categorizing all the uncategorized posts.

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.