Posterous for iPhone puts microblogging power at your fingers
Arguably, one of the easiest ways to publish online is with Posterous. Creating and updating a weblog with Posterous is as simple as sending an email. Now, the gang has created another tool for users to play with: Posterous for iPhone (free). I've been using the app for a couple of weeks now. I also had a chat with Posterous CEO and co-founder Sachin Agarwal. Here's our review of the app and highlights of my discussion with Sachin.
First, a bit about the service itself. To create a Posterous blog, all you need to do is send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. That's it. A site will be created for you with your email's subject as the first post's title and the body as the post itself. There's nothing to configure, install or set up. Likewise, creating a photo gallery is just as easy. Send your pictures to the same address (using the email address you initially chose) and Posterous does the rest, creating a gallery, thumbnails and so on.
Of course, it's not limited to text and photos. "Our goal is to handle any file you send to us," Sachin told me. Indeed, you can send a .doc file, a PowerPoint presentation, a PDF, a movie, an audio track, etc. Posterous will host your file and present it in the most Web-friendly format possible. All from your email client. If that's possible, I asked Sachin, why go with an app? Sending attachments via email is so simple, and nearly everyone knows how to do it.
"The app gives more control and flexibility," he said. "It offers all of the options from the site, natively." Indeed, while publishing via email is terrifically simple, logging into your account from a browser offers additional options, like making certain posts private, support for multiple Posterous sites and simultaneous publishing to a number of platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook...up to 26 different sites at once. If you change your mind about pinging those other services, you can turn them on or off from within the app.
Using the app
Here's how to get started. When you first launch the app, you'll be presented with a welcome screen. From there you've got two options: create a new site or login to an existing account. In the Posterous tradition, creating a new site is ridiculously easy. Just tap the green Post button, compose your post and hit Post. That's it. If you've already got an account, tap Login and enter your credentials. Any Posterous sites connected to that account will appear.
To publish a post, tap the appropriate site. You'll get a list of recent posts, complete with a thumbnail of any attachments and stats on the number of views and number of comments. Next, hit the green Post button. A new window appears with several options.
The name of the site is listed above the title field. Below that is the body field. Fill both in as you will. Above the keyboard are four buttons. First is the compose button, which brings up the keyboard and input fields. Next is the Info button. Tap it to enter tags and enable geotagging and autoposting or to set a post as private. Note that creating a private post automatically disables autoposting to services like Twitter and Facebook, even if you've got them enabled by default.
Finally, the arrow button hides/reveals the keyboard while the plus icon lets you attach a photo or video. You can pull one from your library or create a new one on the spot. In fact, you can attach several photos at a time. Once you're done, tap Post. Uploading occurs in the background, so you're free to exit the app. A message will pop up when processing is complete. As I said, it's a breeze.
Posterous for iPhone has a number of helpful settings, too. Hit Settings at the bottom of the screen to setup autopost options, adjust media quality (photo quality ranges from full resolution to low at 500px, and video quality ranges from HD to 360x480), browse the help section, log out of your account or send an email to Posterous support from within the app.
I asked Sachin about the future of mobile publishing and his company's other app, PicPosterous (here's our PicPosterous review). "PicPosterous will be removed from the store with the next revision of Posterous for iPhone," he said. "We want to add a few features to Posterous, like an option to edit posts and add media to existing posts. This is only the beginning." Sachin believes that mobile publishing is only going to increase in popularity, and says that his company is looking at the iPad as well.
One disappointment is that you're limited to posting photos and videos with Posterous for iPhone, but that's not the app's fault. Those wanting to share PDFs or PowerPoint decks, for example, must do so via email. But all in all, we're very happy with the app and anticipate what's next. If Posterous is the simplest way to publish to the web, Posterous for iPhone is a worthy companion.
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