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Thinking of switching from Posterous - pluses and minuses - your thoughts?

  1. Many Posterous users, such as myself, are considering alternatives now that Posterous has been acquired by Twitter. The message from Posterous to users isn't completely reassuring (e.g. "We'll give you advance warning of how to download a backup of your space well in advance of any service interruption.")

    My situation is:

    (1) I started with a self-hosted WordPress blog at Hostgator. It is still up, but I haven't posted there for a couple of years.

    (2) I was attracted by the Posterous auto-posting features and the ease of posting and replying by email, so imported my self-hosted WordPress blog to Posterous in 2010. The import went so-so, fairly well, a few glitches, but it's all there now.

    (3) A couple of days ago, concerned about the Posterous announcement, I imported my Posterous blog here to WordPress.com. It went without a hitch: 667 posts since 2007, 800+ comments and over 1,000 images all imported fine. You can see it by clicking on my name for this post.

    There are pluses and minuses to switching though. My questions are the following. If anybody has any insight, I would appreciate it!

    (1) Reply to posts by email? If I switch to WordPress, what should I do about my Posterous subscribers who are used to replying by email? I have a few members in their 80s and 90s and they find it easy to just reply by email, but I think it would be a burden for them to have to click the comment link and then somehow authenticate themselves to add a comment. They don't have WordPress, FaceBook or Twitter accounts. I don't suppose there is some way for subscribers to post comments by email reply, like there is with Posterous, is there?

    (2) Auto-posting issues. The auto-posting from WordPress to FaceBook seems "meh" compared to Posterous. There doesn't seem an option to post images to my FaceBook gallery, is there? It just creates a little blurb with a link back to my WordPress blog. And the link itself is not very well-formed. Basically it ends up as a "shared link" on FaceBook, with the malformed text, "Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post." It doesn't look very nice. I haven't tried the Twitter auto-posting yet. What do you all think?

    (3) Here or self-host? Should I host here, or self-host where I already have my old WordPress blog that I originally imported to Posterous in 2010? I just upgraded it to the 3.3 version and it seems to run well. It's hard to figure out whether it's best to self-host or just keep the blog running here, though I did look at comparisons between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. I'm not going to go crazy into customizing or adding odd plugins. And it does seem faster here. And things are more regularly backed up here I assume. So that's probably a reason for staying at wordpress.com.

    I guess my biggest worries are a lack of ability for members to reply to posts by email and the not-so-great level of auto-posting to FaceBook.

    Any thoughts on those?

    Thanks,

    doug

    The blog I need help with is douglerner.wordpress.com.

  2. WordPress.com is an excellent blogging platform. It is NOT an excellent reblogging platform. I love it, but for reblogging, I have a Tumblr.

    The SEO of WOrdpress.com is unmatched, so if visibility is your goal, you will want to be here. But you will want to provide TEXT with your images in that case. Google loves text.

    1) won't be possible. It may come, at some distant point in the future, but for now it doesn't work at all here. Nor on independent WP as far as I know, though presumably there are amazing newsletter services which will do this.

    2) I loathe autoposting with a passion, and it simply isn't good for visibility. It tells everyone on Twitter "I didn't care enough to post this by hand" and on FB, autoposted material is automatically downgraded and hardly ever shows up in anyone's News feed. But it does work, if simply posting the links on your own wall is good enough. The Twitter Publicize works as well.

    3) Without knowing more about your goals or what sort of things you post, it's impossible to answer. If you use a lot of flash or sound embeds or javascript or iframes, you will want to be independently hosted. If you want ads, you will want to be independently hosted. If you want to tinker with the theme at the base level, rather than just skin it with CSS, you will want to be independently hosted.

  3. Thanks for your reply, raincoaster.

    (1) is really a shame. On the one hand, it might be a show-stopper. On the other hand, my whole goal here is trying to be prepared in case Posterous ends its service. So either case might be a show stopper. I know I can just run my own newsletter or forums with reply-by-email features, but it's not really the same.

    (2) But I don't care enough about Twitter to post by hand! :)

    I hardly ever visit the site. But some people seem to appreciate the posts that end up there and they visit my blog and become followers. If it weren't for auto-post I'd probably never have a twitter post for months at a time.

    I didn't realize that FB downgrades auto-posted material. Why do they have an API for it if they do that? Posterous does more than post links though. The links wp posts are grody.

    (3) I don't use flash or sound embeds or javascript or iframes in my posts. I post images and text posts I think are of interest, mostly for family, friends and a wide-ish circle of acquaintances who became interested in my reports from Japan after last year's earthquake.

    I don't really think ads are going to generate income from my blog. I have tinkered with the Posterous themes, but it's not my driving interest. I do want to use my own domain though. I notice wordpress.com charges extra for that. On the other hand, it's not that much extra.

    The benefits of staying at wordpress.com might be better speed and more reliable backups?

    Thanks for your thoughts. It was useful. My main worry right now is reply-by-email for my older members.

    doug

  4. I take that back about iframes. The embeds from youtube are iframes. I just used it in a "page" in my wp blog and it worked fine.

    I rarely use iframes though.

    doug

  5. YouTube is a special exception to the iframe rule. Security here is very tight, and major services like YouTube and a few others apply for, and receive, exemptions or WP makes a special shortcode for them.

    2) FB didn't anticipate the flood of robots or the complaints of users at roboposted material. Right now the big competitive advantage of Google+ over Facebook is that it does not allow any roboposts, and that's frankly a draw. FB saw how often roboposted material was downgraded by its own users in their streams via "don't show me posts like this" etc, and took action on its own to pre-emptively downgrade things.

    I'm lazy, I still use roboposting for two of my blogs, but I shouldn't. I really should disable it.

  6. I've got all my clients doing them by hand now as well and shutdown the roboposting stuff completely.

  7. I confronted one of mine with "explain to me exactly the benefit to your business of posts no-one sees."

  8. Well, I don't see a problem per-se with auto-posting. It seemed like a natural development. I had found myself posting the same things sometimes to multiple places, so it is simply a convenience.

    That aside, I don't see how I'm going to get over this no "reply-by-email" hurdle.

    doug

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