Why I left Posterous

15/03/2012 //

I’m reasonably interested in web technology and try to keep up as best I can. Given the insane amounts of startups around, it’s not easy; after all, you can’t even find all services, much less use them. You have to pick a few and stick with them, then move on if or when you find something that works better for you.

I really liked Posterous at first; its post-by-email was easy to use, and its cross-posting abilities are admittedly impressive. Post once, read everywhere … it seemed like a dream for the would-be Internet mogul who doesn’t actually create all that much content.

I was a happy user, but I kept finding that every time I saw something gut-bustingly hilarious, it would originate on Tumblr. Eventually, I signed up. While Tumblr proved far less stable than Posterous, often crashing at least once a day (being in Norway, the time difference probably saved me from the bulk of the frustration), I had to admit it was far better in terms of design: sign up, click on one of the «post» buttons, and that’s it – you’re ready to go! (Not that Posterous was that much harder – send them an email and they took care of the rest – but it didn’t feel as intuitive.)

Furthermore, when it was up, Tumblr was – or at least felt – faster. By a factor of … a lot. After four years, Posterous still feels sluggish when I’ve logged on, which means that trying to explore gets boring fast; conversely, Tumblr is a hot mess of crossposting and reposting of weird memes and funny GIFs, not to mention the actual good and original content.

Posterous mostly seemed to attract a drier, «techier» crowd at first; when exploring, I mostly found social media experts – you know, the people who tell you how to get more hits on your page. Relaunching with «Spaces» was a good move on their part; it made easier to find interesting stuff. (The accompanying iPhone app was also attractive, but – just like the actual service – slow compared to its Tumblr counterpart. Unfortunately.)

Still, for all these positive changes, I just didn’t get that sense of free-wheeling fun with Posterous. Even with the one of the worst search functions on the web, Tumblr beats them for entertainment. Granted, it’s hardly Posterous’ fault that they don’t have the content I preferred, but them’s the breaks.

Lastly, the “write once, read everywhere” thing ended up getting annoying. While a simple process, posting via Posterous also added a lot of markup to the code, which meant that each time I posted a new entry, I spent 20 minutes scrubbing up the code on my own site. It’s been a source of no little frustration.

This week, Posterous was bought by Twitter. They claim the service won’t change, while at the same time telling all its users how to get their stuff to other services, so it’s fair to assume they’re not long for this world. It was fun while it lasted, and I’m genuinely curious to see what they come up with next. They seems like a good match, and if Twitter can integrate their services in a clever fashion, things could get very interesting.