Microblogger shootout: Posterous Spaces vs. Tumblr

A new wave of free sites encourages fast blogging, multimedia entries and social networking.

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Extra features/power tools

A checklist of basics for a blogging service would include the tools needed to post, edit and format the content you want to include. A supplementary list might include niceties such as traffic analysis and promotional tools. Posterous Spaces and Blogger do include some other tools that fall outside these basic categories.

It's very telling that features that are commonplace in almost every other type of software -- such as the ability to import or export -- are considered power tools here and are only half-implemented, if at all. To call blog import a power tool speaks volumes about the rudimentary feature set at this end of the market, but that's how it stands with these two services.

Posterous Spaces

Many of Posterous Spaces' strengths come to the fore when using the mobile iPhone or Android app. Although it's a multipurpose app that can be used for long text postings, its focus is on allowing users to quickly upload photographs. You can take pictures or select existing mobile phone pictures without leaving the app, and even geotag them on the fly.

Posterous Spaces vs. Tumblr

Posterous Spaces can import blogs from many other services.

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On the desktop, Posterous Spaces' stand-out setup tool is its ability to import blogs from many other sites. It was too tempting to not try out, so I pointed it to a three-year-old Blogger site of mine. On the whole, I was very satisfied with the results: The import feature left my original blog intact while recreating it at Posterous Spaces, with the original post dates and tags all successfully copied to the new site. The process took about half an hour.

On the downside, none of the comments from my Blogger subscribers came across, and though the original dates did appear next to each blog entry, Posterous Spaces' archive summary counted them as a single entry in the month of import -- which isn't really an accurate count if you've imported a one-hundred-strong archive. Other than that, it's a handy little feature.

Tumblr

Some of the biggest wows on the Tumblr site come from its enthusiastic community of third-party app developers.

The site highlights the number of mobile apps, many of which are specialty apps like FiLMiC Pro or Auteureist, whose only real connection to Tumblr is the ability to upload quickly to the site.

Posterous Spaces vs. Tumblr

Tumblr offers a good number of third-party apps.

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That said, if you're looking to enhance your mobile experience and funnel what you do on your phone or iPad into a blog, Tumblr's third-party apps are a great jumping-off point.

In terms of native ability, Tumblr takes a different approach from Posterous Spaces in the import/export department -- and comes up equally short. Tumblr avoids the issue of importing whole blogs from another site, offering an archiving tool instead. It's handy for compiling all the posts you've made into a single folder on your hard disk, which is great for, say, assembling material for a print anthology or other adaptation you may want to make of your content. But as yet, the feature's only available on the Mac platform.

Bottom line

Once again, when you look at the kind of extra features and power tools that sites like Blogger and WordPress provide, it's hard to give a laurel to either Posterous Spaces or Tumblr. What little they do provide is fairly evenly matched.

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