I’m getting a presentation ready for the Oxford Geek Night this
Wednesday. I’m doing a keynote called “Take a Walk on the Happy Path”,
which is based around the notion of lazy
registration and other new interaction patterns that are making it
easier to interact without having to register or log in. (BTW drop by if
you’re around Oxford this Wednesday.)
One aspect is email. I’m seeing the email-driven interaction pattern
get more and more popular. 2010 will be the year of many things, but I
can see one thing being particular prominent in 2010: good ol’ email.
And having used Posterous a couple of months now, I can see why. Lots
of unanticipated reasons to use it. e.g. I mail an answer to someone,
but CC it to posterous so it goes on my public blog too. Or I flag
some pics on iPhoto and email the lot in one go to Posterous so they
appear on my Posterous blog and in my Flickr account, with requisite
tweet if I like. Or I record an MP3 on my iphone (if only an app would
actually do that) and send it to my Posterous blog – instant podcast!
It’s just old-fashioned email, but suddenly it got a whole lot more
useful! The ubiquity of email has until recently been underutilised in
a big way.
http://picwing.com is a new startup whose premise is mail them your
photos for print. I can see other upstarts taking similar advantage of
this pattern to build a competitive advantage, and combining it with
Lazy Registration will help them take on the incumbents. And the
incumbents will likely introduce the pattern to combat them, just as
Dopplr introduced it after Tripit’s itinerary email procedure came
A few things worth noting:
- It’s been done before by pioneers like Flickr, and probably much
earlier than that. But now, we’re trying our luck with simple email
addresses like [email protected] and [email protected] Not a secret
email address with a password/PIN in it.
- That could be a bad thing, as it’s possible to spoof the From:
address. So security measures need to be in place and you can’t use it
for anything too important. But most things aren’t. No need to throw
out the baby with the bathwater, as long as services are designed
around the fact that identity fraud is a more likely possibility than
normal. One good pattern is simply a confirmation reply by email.
- It’s more than just an email to a simple address though, because
posterous is using email as a command-line. e.g.
[email protected] will go to flickr and twitter;
[email protected] to everything that makes sense, and
[email protected] only to my blog. Maybe sounds complicated to the unfamiliar, but pretty simple once you get used to it. And most people will only ever use and care about [email protected], so it’s all good.
- The pattern extends more broadly than email, to encompass SMS
interaction and interaction from specialised devices.
Oh. This would be a good time to officially announce my Posterous
Somewhere between my Twitter
and this blog, it’s been a great avenue for expanding on things that
can’t possibly be said in 140 characters, but don’t warrant the
longer, slightly more formal writing (well, I use hyperlinks
occasionally) you see here. I also use it as a general scrap book and
a place to just drop content and data into, where each random bit
collection gets a URL … a glorified pastebin. In fact, it’s changing
the way I write here too, as I’m using less markup and less links
overall. This blog post comes to you via email in fact, as it’s just
easier and lets me write things where I otherwise wouldn’t bother. So
maybe this blog will converge a bit with my Posterous blog.
Also, Twitter’s handling of historical data is pants. I laugh, I cry, I laugh, I cry every time someone says Twitter will crush Google, it’s the new search, when they can’t even search tweets from more than 2 weeks ago. Yes, I realise it’s all about real-time now, and searching last month is so, well, last month. But I want to use Twitter in a way that I can easily search back to things I’ve been doing and links I’ve been noting; and, as it stands, I can’t. So I’d much rather pump all my tweets through something that is properly searchable. I still do tweet directly at times, but mostly because it’s convenient from TweetDeck; as soon as there’s an equivalently good Twitter client that posts to posterous – or just sends tweets to an email address, hah! – I’m out.