I was impressed with posterous when I first set my paws on it in August 2008. It is the web site you can build a blog, even a shared collaborative one, via the complex blog authoring platform — email.
You can set up a site instantly, with no account needed upfront, and that in itself is humbly elegant, but the real fun is when you send an email with a link to media in it, an attached image or video– and it knows how to render those media types right in the page, even with embedded players for audio and video.
I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while; I’d set up some sites at NMC with the hopes others would contribute things like cool technology or stuff for the Horizon Report. Not a whole lot happened there besides me and one colleague, and then a bunch of spammers, so I turned off the open submissions because everything needs moderation.
But I am not wanting to go far into the bits and bytes and knobs and sliders… I wanted to share an example that has worked out quite nicely.
It’s been a real perk working at NMC to have had a few opportunities to interact with the legendary Doug Engelbart and recently we have been working with the Engelbart Institute to host a historic video archive.
Having seen some of the earlier above attempts to try an “Engelbartian” approach to knowledge gathering (the posterous examples), Doug’s daughter contacted me a two weeks ago to ask if the same kind of tool could be set up to collect birthday greetings for Engelbart’s upcoming 85th birthday.
It took about 3 minutes in posterous to set it up, and maybe another 15 to tweak the template a little. With some outreach, we’ve been seeing a steady stream of wishes come in from all over the place who have connections with Engelbart, as well as from family (the kids and grandkids seem to have been numbered ;-) There are some great photos that have been shared:
And the beauty is that all of this has come from people posting to the site by sending an email. Today (January 29) is really the day to add yours, as the birthday day is on January 30.
How hard is it?
Please share your birthday greetings with Doug Engelbart in celebration of his 85th birthday on January 30, 2010 sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org — your entire message, and any media you choose to include as an attachment (e.g. photos, videos, and audio recording) will be added to this web site.
So far we have 40+ messages that have arrived in about the last 10 days. Check it out at http://engelbart85.posterous.com/ (spammers don;t waste your time- we moderate everything, and all you accomplish is making my grouchy on the delete button).
There is a lot more to say about posterous (including some quirks in the interface), but what it does is lovely.