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What to make of Twitter gobbling up Posterous: Will the platform be maintained as is? Will users continue to get the level of support Posterous has offered? Or will it be phased out? (Twitter and Posterous.com)
What to make of Twitter gobbling up Posterous: Will the platform be maintained as is? Will users continue to get the level of support Posterous has offered? Or will it be phased out? (Twitter and Posterous.com)

What Twitter buying Posterous means: A blogger's take Add to ...

So the micro-blogging platform Posterous is being acquired by Twitter.

Reactions are mixed, if the comment thread on the Posterous announcement is any indication. There are several questions you can ask, reading between the lines: Will the platform be maintained as is? Will users continue to get the level of support Posterous has offered? Or will it be phased out?

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Of the possible benefits for Posterous users there's Apple's relationship with Twitter, and the enhanced integration on display in the latest versions of Safari. But my short-term reaction is still one of regret. This stems from a straight-up comparison to Tumblr, another micro-blogging platform.

I've been using both. Both have their appeal. Both have a wide variety of themes, and both allow HTML geeks (which I am not) to tweak those themes. Both work well on mobile devices. Both allow posting via e-mail. Both support auto-posting to other services (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), although it's worth nothing that until now, you've been able to use Posterous to auto-update Tumblr, but not vice versa.

(Business Insider’s Jay Yarow tweeted an interesting traffic comparison for Tumblr and Posterous.)

Both allow quick capture of content you run across elsewhere, via browser extensions, for repurposing and broadcasting on your own feed, without Twitter's 140-character limit. (Perhaps it's that capacity that Twitter's interesting in acquiring, but that's just speculation.) And once that's done, both will generate tweets automatically, using their own URL shorteners.

In my experience, Posterous provided a better level of user support. You could also select themes that gave an exact, real-time hit count for each post. Another advantage was its ability to list other sites that I liked — including Blogger, WordPress, Moveable Type, etc. — unlike Tumblr, which allows you to display the other Tumblr blogs you follow, but only other Tumblr sites. (Yes, you can create a page on your Tumblr site which lists links to other places, but that's a little less elegant.) The other thing I liked about Posterous was its embeddable-tweet function, which roughly duplicated what you can do with Storify.

On the minus side: the comment function. Posterous never built in the ability to link to individual comments. Tumblr allows its users to install Disqus, which allows that and more — making it, on balance, a little easier for users to interact with readers.

Posterous says it’ll remain up and running without disruption, but it also says to stand by for instructions on how to back up and/or migrate. I’m covered there, but if that also means I have to go back and redirect all my related links, I just don’t want to think about it ...



Sol Chrom is an online editor with globeandmail.com. His blogs and tweets have nothing to do with that.

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