New Tricks: How to use Posterous

July 2nd, 2009

I’ve recently signed up for Posterous, a lifestreaming site that may very well be the next shiny Web 2.0 tool.

What is lifestreaming, you ask? It’s a way of aggregating your life — photos, videos, articles and blog posts — in one place. In a recent post, I say lifestreaming can be thought of as a linear, time-based scrapbook. A Web 2.0 version of “Being John Malkovich,” sort of.

It’s simple enough to sign up for Posterous:

1. First, go to the Posterous registration page. Select your URL — e.g. is the default, but you can install Posterous as the CMS on your personal blog — as well as your password. Enter your contact e-mail address. One word of advice: Use an e-mail account that you can access from your mobile device easily; this way you can upload photos and videos directly to your page, instead of just using SMS for the posts.

Be sure to fill out your profile completely. Add a bio and a photo, because if you don’t, your page’s sidebar will appear quite sparse.

2. Create a contact on your phone for Posterous. Enter the telephone number in as 41411. (It’s a short code — definition here — so that’s why the number is only five digits. Enter the e-mail address as post [at] posterous [dot] com. (Use the actual symbols for “at” and “dot,” not the bracketed words. Just saying.)

Now create some test posts, like I did here and here, just so you can get the hang of it. If you have the iPhone 3.0 software, you can even upload your audio recordings directly to the site by e-mailing them to post [at] posterous [dot] com.

3. Add the “Share to Posterous” link to your browser. This will make it easy for you to take any content you want from the Web and post it directly to your Posterous site. Go to this page, scroll about halfway down, and literally drag the button to the top of your browser.

4. Share/post a photo or video through the bookmarklet: To share a photo or video, just open up the URL for the photo specifically, like this stunning picture of yours truly or this classic Michael Jackson music video.

Click the “Share on Posterous” link on your browser, and a window will open, like so:

Posterous photo

Chances are the picture’s file name will be the default headline. Change the “title” field to whatever you want your post’s headline to be. Post your written content into the “Your Comment” field below the photo. (Warning: Be sure to change your headline now, because you won’t be able to re-save it for SEO purposes. To change the URL, you’ll have to start all over. You don’t want to do that.)

5. Share/post a story through the bookmarklet: Say there’s a story you want to share on your Posterous page. Simple enough. First, find the URL for what you want to share. Then click on the Posterous bookmarklet. A similar window will pop up.

If the story has one main graphic, it will automatically show up in the box. If the page has multiple graphics, you’ll be able to cycle through them. If you don’t like any of them, just click on the picture — the HTML code will show up — and just delete it.

Add some text below the graphic, and be remember to give your post a title. You should end up with something like this.

6. Post content via e-mail: Just open a blank e-mail — it must be from an account you registered on Posterous — and enter your headline in the subject box. Now enter the body text as the main e-mail message. Send it to post [at] posterous [dot] com.

7. Post content via your mobile phone: Posting content from your phone is simple. There are several ways to do it:

  • Post via SMS: Just write be sure to write the word “POST” before the text you want to be your headline. Text it to 41411 and you’ll get something like this. Unfortunately, your post won’t have any body text initially, just a headline. You can always go back and change this later, though. NOTE: One thing — if you post via SMS, your full text will appear, but the post URL seems to have an 81-character limit.
  • Post via e-mail: just open a blank e-mail and send it to post [at] posterous [dot] com. Your post headline will go in the subject box and the body text will go, well, in the body of your e-mail.
  • You can also send cell phone photos via e-mail. If you’re using an iPhone, first make sure you upgrade to iPhone 3.0 software. Open your Camera Roll, select one or multiple photos and “Copy” them. (You can do this with the upgraded software.) Then open a new e-mail and “Paste” the photos into the body of the e-mail. To add text above the photos, just type it above the first photo. Your final post will look like this if you have one photo or this if you have multiple photos. Nifty, huh?

8. Now it’s time to link Posterous to your social media accounts. Posterous allows you to link your profiles on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, as well as your WordPress, Blogspot or Xanga-powered blog for either automatic or select syndication. Just click the “Add a service” button at the top of the page, and Posterous will set it up almost automatically.

If you only want to post to one page, just e-mail your posts to [name of the service] [at] Posterous [dot] com.

And if you like the service so much, you want to pull in your current blog and switch platforms, you can import your existing posts to Posterous.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a video fellow Chicagoan @Outsanity created for his blog about Posterous. Enjoy:

Please let me know if I left anything out of this post, and let us know if you like Posterous as much as we do.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Entry Filed under: lifestreaming,New Tricks

  • Emily Christensen

    I really like Posterous (my friend Karen maintains her tumblelog there). I would probably have used their service had I not known so many people already using Tumblr, the functionality of which is almost exactly the same.

    This comment was originally posted on David Kamerer’s Spoonful

  • Lindsay M. Allen

    Thank you for this post! Always good to have a clue or two when trying something new, and I'd like to give Posterous a whirl, so I've bookmarked this post for future reference.

  • Stuartfoster

    Alright Daniel…I'm begrudgingly going over this. I'm going to be a wee bit scared and confused by it for the next few days though. Hopefully, the experiment will work out well.

  • Greg Linch

    This looks like an interesting service, but I guess my big question is why should someone who uses WordPress, Facebook and Twitter plus related third-party plugins and apps use (or switch to) Posterous?

    It's looks simple and easy to use, but I just don't see the unmet need it's fulfilling or drastic simplification (though I do see it syndicates to other services) to make it the next big thing.

    I don't mean to be negative, I'm just curious and would like to hear more of your thoughts about why it's useful. I actually signed up to try it out.


  • dan360man

    I like the more visceral nature of Posterous. I'd feel bad creating a post that's simply a link to a story, along with two sentences. I feel like I'd have to choose between two options:

    1. Shortening it to a Tweet, and not posting it on my blog.
    2. Expanding my thoughts to more than two sentences, to make it a legitimate blog post.

    Posterous is flexible enough to do both. For the quick hits, it can re-post them as a Tweet. For a blog post, it syndicates to all of your other networks.

    This just makes sense to me.

  • Breanna Gaddie

    I'm all about making things easier. It's so ironic that I just heard about this from a new media friend yesterday and now I've ran across your blog. I see Greg's point about how is it worth switching to if some of us already use WordPress, FB, Twitter, etc. However, if you say that Posterous can live stream and syndicate everything, then maybe it will make life easier. Whatever it takes to make new livestreaming techniques to clean up our digital housekeeping may be worth it.

  • Agent_Luke


    It's nice to finally comment on your post – not sure why I haven't done it earlier. Anyhow, my marketing is all web related so I jump (or around) any
    new interesting peace – thanks, will try to check it out soon.

  • eduardonunes


    This comment was originally posted on Representação Pública

  • Ryan Sholin

    It’s funny, but I totally need a tutorial like this on how to use Posterous. You mean, I just, like, e-mail it things?

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  • dan360man

    Seriously, Luke. What's up with that?

    Could be an interesting way to present real estate information.

  • dan360man

    Thanks for the comment, Breanna. Who'd you hear about it from? Chris Graves?

  • Breanna Gaddie

    Actually I have a google alert set for “web 2.0″ and this article showed up.

    Also, after exploring posterous, I emailed the support team, but maybe you know this. I know it has the ability to auto-update other channels or services, but I'm wondering if there's a way to get it to post on the page what I post elsewhere. For example, if I post something to Twitter, then it automattically post to Posterous page. If posterous can't do that, do you know of a service that can do that?

  • elizs

    Breanna – you may already know this, but Tumblr offers this service. I have a couple friends who mainly use Tumblr as a way to archive their tweets.

  • Breanna Gaddie

    No, I didn't know that about Tumblr. Thanks, I will sign up.

    Does it just archive tweets, or can I get it to archive all my blog/socail media presence? (a daunting task i know)

  • Agent_Luke

    for sure – no doubt.
    me and you mate, we gotta get something goin here.

  • elizs

    So far, just Twitter is the easiest to archive on Tumblr. As far as archiving all your social media presence (or rather keeping it all in one place), have you tried Friendfeed? I have my digg, youtube, flickr, tumblr, and more hooked up to Friendfeed. Click on my name for this comment and it will go to my FF page so you can see what it looks like.

    And as far as the original post, I'm still getting used to posterous. I like the plain design, and the ease of posting, but I still use Tumblr predominantly (but I HATE tumblarity).

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  • Ross Dunn

    I like it, it has serious potential. BUT…

    Posterous is going to have a hell of a branding problem with people not pronouncing their name correctly (although in their defence they shouldn't be having a problem) as evidenced by the video by Chicagoan @Outsanity – it isn't Post-Ear-E-Us (which sounds like a cousin of posterior but isn't an actual word) but Post-Er-Us.

    Poor guys, it seems the incorrect pronunciation of their name has taken hold to the detriment of their brand… check out this search for “Posterious” on Google

    I am thinking whoever owns is getting some darned decent traffic and can expect to be called soon by the Posterous team to have their domain bought LOL!

  • Aron Pilhofer

    Hey Daniel.. I've looked at the site, read both posts and, frankly, I don't get it. I don't see what this does for me, except putting my content on YET another social media website.

    I can see why someone who is actively maintaining, you know, nine different social media sites would think this is pretty cool and convenient. But what I'm missing is the “why should I care as a journalist” part.

    Love to see you post on what you think this can do for a newsroom, or how newsrooms can use this to do something completely new and different, with some practical examples if there are any (or hypotheticals if not). I'd also love for you to show me the money. How does driving traffic to help

    Anyway, not to be the turn in the punchbowl here, but I'm just not seeing the point…. (Full disclosure: I would have said the same about Twitter one year ago, so, things do change.)

    Keep up the good work!

  • Aron Pilhofer

    I may have answered my own question (or maybe you did, and I just missed the link). Anyway, this kind of gets at it, but still feels a bit “schicky” to me.

  • tjunkie

    I have been using posterous quite a lot these days and I think is a nice idea to be able to blog at one place and have it redirects to all my other social networking sites like twitter, facebook and flickr and even my own personal blog too. The only thing I'm concern now is my own personal blog which have all the image links pointing to posterous. What if one day the services is suspended? Then what…go and edit every single piece of entry in my personal blog to reattached all the lost images link again?

  • Daniel Honigman

    Yes. It’s that simple. Wiseass. (Kidding.)

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  • Robert Quigley

    I'm noodling the same questions. I can imagine having a features writer who is covering a multi-day festival using it to tell a good narrative from the event. Same might work for a sports writer at a tournament. The pics, vids, audio, blog posts, etc. all in one place, in a stream.

    As for the money, you can push content from Posterous to WordPress, though I don't know how that works since I haven't tried that yet. In theory, one could sell ads on that WordPress blog.

    I'm not sure I see the point fully yet, either, though it is clever software (especially with easy e-mail posting).

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  • Eric Martindale

    Hey Wayne! Haven’t run into you in a while here in Raleigh, but I caught your post on Twitter and thought I’d swing by.

    I’m a HUGE fan of Google Reader shared items, but for some reason you’re not showing up in my items… does Google need to make this mechanism more social, or am I missing something?

    This comment was originally posted on Social Wayne

  • Daniel

    Thanks for sharing my guide on Posterous, Wayne. Appreciate the HT!

    This comment was originally posted on Social Wayne

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  • cell phone lookup

    loves posterous

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  • Kim Kay

    Thx, I had a quick question using Posterous and even though your post is a year old it had what I needed.

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