First go at importing to from posterous

So I had a go and made a new copy at has an importer for posterous (look under Tools in your 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 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.

Saying goodbye to posterous

I really liked  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 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.