It ain’t easy takin’ your blog with you

Steve Rubel tweeted yesterday that he was ditching his existing blogs, and starting again on Tumblr. I assumed that his reasons for moving would probably not convince me, since he does what he does as a profession, but before he posted his reasons why later in the day, I got thinking about moving from Posterous to Tumblr, and decided to give it a go, since he did get me onto Posterous in the first place.

The results were disasterous, and I learned that blogging platforms do NOT play nicely with each other.

I was shocked at how unbelievably painful it is to even attempt to export your data from one blog to another. There’s no concept of a standard format a blog gets exported into, and right now, WordPress seems to be the only middle man, however cumbersome and handicapped He may be, that can actually pull data from most of these blogs, through plugins they’ve developed that access the APIs, and then spit out an XML file of sorts, parts of which can be read, in various ways, by blogging platforms.

This is what I went through…

  • Looked for an export blog option in Posterous. Failed.
  • Looked for an import blog option in Tumblr. Failed.
  • Linked my Posterous to my Tumblr, and began manually autoposting each entry on my Posterous blog to Tumblr, and then manually backdating timestamps in individual Tumblr posts
  • Realised that I’d uploaded videos in a few of my Posterous posts that couldn’t now be embedded in a Tumblr post
  • Realised that none of my comments could be pulled out of Posterous
  • Gave up

The comments were a real deal breaker. Many of my entries have no comments, but the ones that do, are pretty darn valuable to me, and in some cases, they add so much to the garbage I’ve written, and make the post what it is. Case in point, the 141 comments on the LOST epilogue that have produced such wonderful discussion!

Then @yghaliya mentioned the Disqus integration in Tumblr, and I googled some more. Turns out that you can export WordPress comments into Disqus, and that you can also import a Posterous blog [comments et al] into WordPress; part two of my quest began…

  • Imported my Posterous blog into a WordPress.com blog
  • Got thrown off for a while thinking I needed a WordPress.org plugin to export comments to Disqus, and began looking for hosting solutions
  • Exported my newly created WordPress blog as a XML file of sorts
  • Signed up to Disqus [even though I’ve been using Disqus on various sites to comment and thought I’d signed up already]
  • Imported my WordPress XML file into Disqus via import.disqus.com

So, at this stage, I had all the comments from my Posterous blog in Disqus, but they were associated with WordPress blog entries…

  • Turns out I needed to execute some PHP script to import the contents into Tumblr, and apparently had to upload said script, after edits, to a PHP webserver to execute, but since I had a hosted WordPress.com site, I had to look for somewhere to host the script
  • Gave up

Good. Lord. It should not be this difficult. Have I just missed something obvious?

Regardless, it feels like if I had to choose a blogging platform to start with now, I’d….

  • look to host all media through other services and embed into the blog [YouTube / Vimeo, imgur]
  • use a commenting platform that can move with you [Disqus seems ok?]
  • want some sort of data portability reassurance [like WordPress]

What a nightmare. And the Tumblr UI wasn’t even that great! To create a post with a few paragraphs and a video thrown in the middle seems amazingly difficult to achieve, as every post is pigeon holed before it’s created. 

Maybe I need someone to explain Tumblr to me, because the UI seems complicated, and I have no idea why people are tumbling or reblogging or noting or whatever it is that happens. Just let me comment and give me a link, dammit.

Dear Posterous, please allow JavaScript some time soon so I can remain content here.


One thought on “It ain’t easy takin’ your blog with you

  1. Pingback: Goodbye Posterous, Hello WordPress | c0up

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