Blog Pile

Fantabulous Posterous

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 — 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 (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.

If this kind of stuff has value, please support me by tossing a one time PayPal kibble or monthly on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Profile Picture for cogdog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Hahahahaha, that is freaking awesome. We just read augmenting human intellect, and the class was like what?! And now they can send hima birthday greeting via posterous.

    You are the dog, indeed.

    Awesome stuff.

  2. Great way to use Posterous, CogDog. So efficient and it requires zero expertise on the part of your contributors and everyone can chime in with their contributions. Sweet.

    I’m using Posterous these days for meeting agendas. I just slap an agenda up there and share the link. That way I can change/update it easily and everyone has the most recent version.

  3. Hmmm….have been searching for a way to host a ‘blog-a-book’ site for a distributed conversation as a faculty development opportunity for a while. Just have not come up with a simple enough tool so the tech does not get in the way/hinder participation in the dialogue. This looks pretty simple/is quite promising!
    Just wondering though, is it possible to enable comments on Posterous sites? I don’t see that in their FAQ.
    Thanks for the post!

  4. The power is the threshold to participate is low, people can reply to a post too in email.

    If your book is an ebook, you might take a look at nifty for creating discussions around books.

    Yes, there are comment options you can set in powerous- no comments, only logged in users can comment, or anyone can comment.

  5. Posterous definitely wins the award in the category of “Brad’s favorite blogging platform.”

    What you did with this Engelbart Birthday site is just so rad.

  6. Thanks Brad. The beautiful part was how drop dead easy it is to set up a posterous site. The downside is if you allow public submissions, you moderate all posts, and within a few weeks, most of the stuff will be spam. They really need to get something like Akismet going.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *