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Roll Your Own TwitPic-like Media Hosting Using Posterous

Roll Your Own TwitPic-like Media Hosting Using Posterous

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    One of the more useful aspects of Twitter is the ability to quickly broadcast images, videos, and other media to your followers, making it an effective “mo-blogging” (mobile blogging) platform. Twitter doesn’t have this ability built in, though; sending pictures or video clips to Twitter requires using third-party services like TwitPic. Most Twitter clients will automatically upload images to these third-party hosts and add a link to your tweets, making the whole experience rather seamless.

    This is a pretty good solution for casual sharing, but if you’re using Twitter as part of your personal branding efforts, or if you’re serious about the media you’re distributing, you might want more control over how your media is stored and displayed online. TwitPic and the other services don’t offer much in the way of page customization. They also scatter your content over several sites.

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    Then there’s the Twitter API limit, which limits access to only your last 3200 tweets. Assuming you’re sharing things on Twitter that are more important than what you ate for lunch and what cute thing your cat just did, you might worry about losing your online history as you build up past the 3200 mark.

    Having discovered too late Twitter’s API limit (I’m almost to 3700 tweets at the moment), I decided I didn’t want to risk my images and other posted material becoming difficult to access – although much of my Twittering is purely personal, my stream is an important part of my online professional presence, and I want to make sure it’s not only archived but accessible moving forward.

    Enter Posterous. Posterous is a lifestreaming service that sits somewhere between Twitter and a blog in terms of features. It’s not really intended for essay-like blogging, but rather for capturing images, video, web links, and thoughts quickly and easily. What’s important here is that you can post via email or even SMS message, and it can be set up to automatically forward anything you post to Twitter, Facebook, and a number of other services (including your own blog). Using Posterous, I can create a permanent record of the images, videos, audio clips, and other material I post to Twitter, and I can do so in a customizable, brandable space that offers me far more control over my content than I have with services like TwitPic or even Twitter.

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    Here’s how to set up and use Posterous as a home for all your tweetable media.

    Set up a Posterous account

    An unusual thing about Posterous is that you can’t just go to the website and sign up – you create an account by using the service.

    1. Send a photo, video, or just text email to [email protected].
    2. Within a few minutes, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to your newly-created site. At the moment, your post is it’s own stand-alone site. Click the link that allows you to change your password.
    3. Posterous assigned you a username based on the username of the email address you sent your first email from (the part before the @ sign). Change that to whatever you want your site’s URL to be (it will be “username.posterous.com” where username is whatever you choose) and enter a password.
    4. Now go to the “Manage” screen and start customizing the site.
    5. Click “Edit this site” to change the name of the site and add a theme under “Theme and customize my site. If you know CSS and HTML, you can create your own theme. Also, you can upload a header image to really brand your site.
    6. If you really want to get fancy, you can set up your Posterous site under your own domain name; follow the instructions on the “Edit” page.
    7. You can also enter your Google Analytics Domain ID to track visitors using Google Analytics. Follow the instructions on the “Edit” page.
    8. Click “Edit my profile” to add personal information and upload a photo of yourself.
    9. From the “Manage” page, click “Manage emails and phone” to add other emails and your cell phone number so you can post from them. I recommend adding your main email address and your phone’s email address (if it’s different from your main email).
    10. “From the “Manage” page, click “Autopost to Everywhere” to add your Twitter account and any other accounts you want to post to via Posterous. You can add Facebook and other social networks, image-hosting sites like Flickr and Picasa, and your own websites, among other services.

    Now you’re set up to post to Posterous and have those posts forwarded automatically to Twitter (and wherever else you choose).

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    Post images, videos, and other media via Posterous

    1. Add an address book entry to your contact manager for Posterous. Add both the main email address, [email protected], and the SMS short code, 41411.
    2. Anything you email to [email protected] will be automatically forwarded to all the services you’ve set up under “Autopost”. The subject line will be the title of your post at Posterous and will make up the body of your Tweet, so limit yourself to 130 characters (to leave room for the shortened URL to your post).
    3. Posterous automatically resizes images to fit your theme. If you send multiple images, Posterous will create a very nice gallery so that all of them can be viewed within the main post. Videos are embedded in a Flash player, as are MP3 files you send to Posterous.
    4. If you might only want to post something to Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or elsewhere, add one or more of the following email addresses to your address book entry:
    5. You can post text-only entries through the SMS number. Type “POST” (without the quotes) and enter up to 110 characters.
    6. If your email program adds a signature line or a “Sent via” line, you can make sure that doesn’t get added to your post by typing “#end” (without the quotes) at the end of the text you want in your post.
    7. You can also add a “Share on Posterous” bookmarklet to your browser for one-click posting from the Web. Any text and images you select before clicking will be posted (and you can add your own text as well). If you don’t select text, Posterous will scan the page for likely “excerpts” on the page, which you can scroll through until you find the part you want to post.

    Drawbacks

    While I think there are a lot of benefits to tweeting this way, even for regular text tweets, I have to admit there are also a few drawbacks. The most notable is that you have to remember to limit yourself to 130 characters (or less) in order to accommodate the link to your Posterous page. As if 140 characters wasn’t short enough!

    Another drawback is that you can’t post through your favorite Twitter client – you have to use email or SMS to get your post to Posterous. In effect, Posterous becomes your Twitter client – but only for posting.

    Finally, many Twitter clients offer previews of images on the more popular image- and video-hosting services. Your followers won’t be able to preview your images on Posterous in their Twitter client.

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    Obviously, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but you should be aware of them before taking the plunge yourself. If Twitter is not just a pastime for you, but a real part of your business or professional life, this is a way to take a lot more control over the content you post to Twitter.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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