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Someone needs to say they’re going to show up for it. That’s what makes stuff happen. Lots of other important things help too, but it really kicks off when someone says “I’m going to be there or do this, no really, I am, I don’t care if nobody else does, I am.”
That’s what makes it so much easier for everyone else to join in. That’s leadership in a world of organising without organisations. Someone is committed. It might not be me, but someone else is, someone can be relied on to be there so that when I finally do make up my mind to go along, I know that it will be there. But it could just as easily be me, they’re not special in any other way, they’re just another bozo on the bus, not an organiser, they have no special status, their role is to commit to being there and to say “Hi” to other people who may come along not knowing what to expect. Their role is not to “manage” anything, it’s simply to be there so that the thing happens and to help the group know it’s a group and to find ways of working things out for themselves.
When we say “I’m doing this thing and I encourage you to do it too” sometimes quite amazing things get started.
That’s why I’m working on #wewillgather – it’s not just another community organising site or an alternative to meetup.com, it’s a commitment engine.
So I had a go and made a new copy at http://mostinteresting2.wordpress.com
WordPress.com has an importer for posterous (look under Tools in your WP.com dashboard). I chose to test it with mostinteresting since each post should follow a fairly standard structure and it should be straightforward to see where things don’t show up the way you’d expect.
I used the simple blue-green theme, so no need to create a header image. (it would be nice if there was a free wp.com theme that mimicked the blank posterous theme, maybe there is, I haven’t looked…)
First things I notice that aren’t imported:
- Pages – this blog has an instruction page called How to Contribute.
- Title & strapline
- Profile & profile pic
- List of Contributors (on this one it’s just me, but there are some group blogs that would need this to come over)
Everything is posted in the “Uncategorized” category. Posterous only has tags, these come through and show up in this theme underneath each post title and in a tag cloud in the sidebar.
Posterous “Likes” come through as blank comments.
Those posts where the picture isn’t showing, or is just a link are also not showing on the original. I think something must have changed since they were posted as I’m fairly sure that as part of the original moderation I made sure that the photo was rendering OK. This may be more of a problem when dealing with blogs that have pictures on other sharing sites than flickr. I believe that photo attachments are transferred over automatically, but that’s not tested here.
So this all implies the following curating tasks:
- Change Title
- Add strapline
- Copy over profile text
- Create and copy manually any pages
- Edit posts to show embedded pictures.
I really liked posterous.com It was a great way to create collaborative blogs and an easy way to get people contributing to a blog who didn’t like the idea that they were “blogging” but didn’t mind sending an e-mail or two.
I used it particularly pleasingly for a couple of applications: Most Interesting, which allows flickr users to submit their “most interesting” picture (as defined by flickr’s interestingness algorithm), together with a little commentary. It flicked along for a little while with some lovely results. I also liked using it for the feedback blogs for GovCamp for the last couple of years. But if you’re having a look at those links in 2020, say, I don’t want you to just find a gravestone to posterous.
In all I’m associated with 22 blogs on there. I’m now looking at how to move and re-host those that I started, either as part of my own site or on their own. I think it’s my responsibility to make sure these things don’t end up disappearing just because I happened to choose a platform that later sold out to Twitter (and from there, who knows…?)
So what to do? There’s a wordpress.com importer so I’m going to start by trying that. That seems better to me than either waiting for posterous to come up with a solution or for me to fumble around with the API on my own.
In addition, I won’t be posting anything new to posterous, so there’s a job to do of letting people know that’s the case and to watch out here instead. At the same time it’s helping me to think about what I’m doing, what I’m writing and what the flows and sinks are that need to be cared for.
To me this is just part of picking up the pieces after a burst of innovation, we’ve learned a lot from using these tools, but we need to move on and build our own solutions when it’s clear that a service provider may not be as reliable as it once seemed.