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Smartphone Multimedia Blogging – An Optimal Solution?

Jan 9, 2011 | Information Technology

The folks who read this blog (both of them) know that I’m very taken with my android phone. I love the way it allows me to capture images, video and sound for later use. I also love the way I can share the files in so many ways – e-mails, Dropbox, Twitter, Evernote, etc. Last week I decided it was time to use these facilities to make my blog better. Text and image blogs are all very well, but they require inspiration to conceive, a little forethought to plan,  and time to actually write them. As a result, I blog less often than I would like. Anyone who blogs on a regular basis will know that it takes real discipline to document an idea when it strikes. Usually the idea is triggered by an event in real life, and it always seems to happen when you’re out-and-about, in the rain, with both hands full of groceries. You think “I’ll remember this and make notes as soon as I can”, but then life takes over and you’ve forgotten another great idea.

This is where your smartphone comes in. It can capture text, images, sound and video, giving you the wherewithal to capture just about any inspiration that strikes you. Be creative with your phone’s capabilities. One friend taught me to take pictures of newspapers, book pages, posters etc, that contain text I want to record. The image can later be typed up, or even automatically converted to text with OCR software. Another idea is to record voice notes and put them through voice-to-text software later. Windows comes with this facility built in (I assume OSX does too), and it works pretty well if set up correctly.

Multimedia Blogging

Image By Vectorportal

If you’re lazy like me, you may be content to capture your inspiration as an image, sound recording or video, and post the files directly on your blog. The beauty of this approach is that your blog suddenly becomes a multimedia extravaganza. Mixing text and image posts with video and audio blogs is a great way to connect with others.

The question is, how to do it? I wanted to have a setup that would allow me to send images, mp3s and videos straight to my WordPress blog. It had to be WordPress – the features, plugins and control it gives me made this a must. The problem is that WordPress, out of the box,  isn’t really set up to accept multimedia content from a smartphone. There is a post by email feature, but this is really intended for pure text content.

The new generation of blogs – Posterous and Tumblr are designed with multimedia content in mind. The two main problems with these solutions is that they are hosted, and they’re not WordPress! Ultimately, I chose Posterous, because of the amount of control it gives you when selecting where your content is posted.

One of Posterous’s great facilities is its ability to cross-post to all the accounts you connect it to. If you email your content to the default Posterous account, it will cross-post to all the connected accounts possible, but you can restrict cross-posting to any combination of accounts you wish. This is done by selecting the relevant  Posterous destination e-mail addresses (each linked account has it’s own Posterous destination address, plus a general address that sends to all). In case you’re wondering about security, Posterous will accept posts only from the email address associated with your account, or any contributor e-mail addresses you add later.

So how do you pipe your content from Posterous into WordPress? The solution is to send Posterous’s RSS feed to a plugin called WP-o-Matic or FeedWordpress. The purpose of these plugins is to watch an RSS feed and convert any new entries into blog posts. With this solution, you capture the file on your phone, email it to your Posterous account, and soon afterwards it shows up on your WordPress blog. Setup and configuration will take 30-60 minutes, but the result will be a WordPress blog on steroids.

Do you have a different way of doing this? I’d love to hear about it.

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