Before Josie was born we set up a blog for her. The intent was for Angela and I to record Josie’s early years in a fun way, without all the tedium of a traditional scrapbook. We wanted it to be low effort, high reward. We selected Posterous as the platform for Josie’s blog, since it offered a decent product for zero cost and very little effort.
Posterous offered some great features for us: it supported dead-simple post-by-email and offered robust media management. The former meant that we could post to Josie’s blog just about anywhere simply by firing off an email from our phones. Lots of other blog platforms support post-by-email, too, but Posterous’s seemed to be so well baked in as to require no effort from us. Posterous also offers a decent – though far from great – application for both iOS and Android, so any kind of complicated post we might want to create could be done with that, too.
Where Posterous really shines, though, is media handling. Photos and videos attached to emails sent to Posterous show up automatically. No fussing with selecting sizes or transcoding videos. In the event that multiple photos are attached to a single post, Posterous generates a nifty little photo gallery automatically. It’s super easy for us, the content creators, and extremely useful to all our family and friends who visit Josie’s blog.
We’d been relatively happy with Posterous for the past two and a half years. But all good things come to an end. Two factors have driven me to migrate away from Posterous. Frist, Posterous was bought by Twitter. While Twitter hadn’t mucked up Posterous much since the acquisition, they hadn’t done much to make it a lot better than it was, either. Also, Posterous is shutting down. So there’s that. The second big issue is that I finally realized that all our Posterous-hosted media lived off on its own, isolated from all the other media silos we use.
This last bit is the really important bit. I have a slowly growing collection of photos at Google, thanks to the confluence of Google+, Picasa, and Android Instant Upload. But I’ve also had a Flickr account since 2005, with more than nine thousand photos and videos. This represents the bulk of my digital life. To have another, separate, isolated repository of photos over at Posterous just didn’t make sense.
Nor does it make sense to manually upload photos to both Flickr and Posterous. Sure, I could do something crazy with IFTTT, but that’s just introducing more complexity by requiring that I create and maintain yet another account somewhere out in the cloud.
So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks updating the Habari post-by-email plugin to support pluggable storage mechanisms. I then wrote a Flickr storage plugin for PBEM that sends any email attachments to Flickr. This works a treat, thus far.
To make this all work, I’ve created a new email address for Josie’s blog, and configured the PBEM plugin to check that account. Angela and I are whitelisted senders, so any emails we send to that account will appear as blog posts on Josie’s blog. Any media attachments we include on our emails will be sent to Flickr, and embedded in the resultant post. This gives us all the benefits of Posterous with the added benefit that all of our photos and videos of Josie’s life are part of my Flickr archive automatically.