Posted in blogosphere, Web 2.0, tagged Posterous on 1 May 2009 |
Been very distracted by Posterous lately — great little “mini blog” (?) service that’s extremely simple to set up and post to.
What do I love about it?
- Email is the default posting mechanism – I just shoot an email to their posting address and I’m done. Within a few seconds, it’s up and I get a confirmation. Email might not be very 2.0, but hey, I’m a bureaucrat so I’m always near my inbox. With Posterous I don’t have to log in to my blog account or anything. Suddenly, the web form I use for this blog seems cumbersome.
- Automated posting to elsewhere – I can set up my account so that when I shoot something to Posterous, in turn it gets pushed out to my presences elsewhere. It integrates with the usual suspects – Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, etc. I especially love how, once I’ve set up these other services, I can selectively pick and choose which of these to autopost to, just by changing the email address used for posting (and the naming convention they’ve chosen for this feature is very intuitive).
- Minimalism – there’s no themes, no widgets, basically no way to change the default layout. Which lets me and my reader focus squarely on the content. (Although I see from the Posterous FAQ that customization and themes are coming soon. Don’t do it, Posterous!)
Anyhow, I’m really enjoying the Posterous experience so far. If you want to check it out, I’m at petersmith.posterous.com.
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(Image credit: “100 fotos de My Buffo,” by My Buffo on flickr)
This is my 100th post. Amazed I made it this far actually.
Some quick observations on blogging practice:
- It’s hard. Writing posts comes to me a lot less naturally that I thought it would. Prolific bloggers amaze me. But then I’ve never been one to think out loud (or with a keyboard).
- It takes time. Each post takes me a lot longer than I thought it would. I really tend to fuss over the words. In fact, most of my published posts end up quite differently than they start out — my creative process requires a lot of re-working.
- Links are a pain. I know they’re important and great for SEO and all that, but finding and inserting the ones I want (even the ones I’ve boomarked) takes a lot of work.
- Images and multimedia are fun. I love the way that they complement (or replace!) the words. But they also take a lot of time to find and insert.
Given all these whines, why don’t I just quit? After all, most of the time I’m perfectly happy to part of the 90% who lurk. Why bother struggling to be part of the 9% who contribute from time to time (never mind the 1% who account for the bulk online content)?
Well, for one thing, I like how blogging gives my writing muscles a good workout. My blog writing is very different from the writing I do in my “regular” work, being in the first person and all. It’s good practice in a different mode. And hitting the publish button after a good post is very satisfying.
Another good reason is that the blog provides me a good excuse to keep an eye on the social media, web 2.0, and government 2.0 spaces. And this has good effects on my day job — advising my colleagues on web communications has become a big growth area for me. And I’m very happy about this. (Can you tell which way I want to move in my career?)
And of course, I would be dishonest if I didn’t mention the ego boost that comes with knowing that others are actually reading what little old me has to say.
BTW, here’s a great essay on the practice of blogging from one of the granddaddies of the medium.
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Many thanks to Colin “Canuckflack” McKay for organizing the Ottawa Government barcamp get-together last Friday. I really enjoyed getting to meet other Web 2.0 keeners from around town. Nice to be able to chat about some of the issues around social media and web comms for government types in an informal setting.
Important now is to keep momentum going!
One of the key venues to help with that will be the barcampOttawaGov mailing list. So as I checked in this morning, I noticed that a discussion is getting underway on public servants and their “unofficial” blogs. Specifically, to what extent should the unofficial government blogger make their management aware of what they are doing?
My take (hardly unique): discretion is the better part of valour. I’ve disclosed what I was doing from the very start of this blog. I don’t want to put management on the defensive by letting them find out about my little posts by accident or only if someone complains. I try make sure that my management won’t feel blindsided if someone has a problem with what I am doing.
And while I feel that it is key to keep the bosses in the loop, there’s something even more important: the tone and content of the blog itself. In my case, I try not to use the blog as a platform to vent or complain. I don’t get into specifics about situations or issues that I am confronting in my daily work. However, I will use those situations as a springboard to explore larger issues on my blog though – that is, when I’m not geeking out about the latest gadget or toy that I’ve discovered…
And I’m open about who I am and that this blog is not an official thing also. Given the terrain I want to cover here, anonymity doesn’t work for me.
By the way, here’s a great post from Neil Williams, a UK civil servant blogger, that gives some great pointers on personal blogging for government types. Sure it’s the UK, but the issues are largely the same – and they’re ahead of us over there, so we can (and should) learn from their experience.
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I’ve had an egocentric Google Alert set up on “spaghetti testing” for a few months now – mostly what comes in are people blogging about what they ate last night, announcements of fundraising suppers that involve spaghetti and programmers complaining about noodly code. I think maybe once or twice somebody said something about this blog …
But this week I’ve been getting a daily alert that quotes the same bit of my post from last Friday:
Civil Service Test
Civil Service Test Louisiana . in an effort to see what sticks (like a spaghetti test, see?), I think there are obvious links with the GoC’s current PS Renewal agenda. After all, if you are looking to attract digital natives to come …
Civil Service Test
I’ve highlighted the quoted bit. They’re always from the same blog, this civil-service-test thing on Blogspot, but the full path of the URL is different each time – so different posts on the blog.
So the first couple of times this showed up, I clicked through to the post, and all I saw was a blank page. WTF?
OK so there’s something weird here. My guesses as to what this might be: spam blog of some sort, phishing, drive by downloads or some kind of data collecting scheme.
I checked the domain and URL out using McAffee site advisor (hasn’t been tested) and Google’s safe browsing diagnostic (not listed as suspicious, but not been tested during the last 90 days).
I’m sure that there are other ways to check this thing out, but I haven’t taken the time to find out what they may be.
Basically I have no idea if this would be something that’s harmless but annoying, or if it’s something more sinister.
Any ideas out there as to what might be going on here? What is the scam?
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