It is undeniable: the booming trends on the Web are micro-blogging and video. Therefore, how can you doubt that a micro-vlogging formula will tear the roof off? Seesmic, the company started by French entrepreneur Loic Le Meur, aims to fill this spot in the online video space.
The idea for Seesmic is fairly simple: It replicates the experience of comment threads common to all blogs: People can post video comments and reply directly to each other. Uploading a video to the Web is a lengthy process, but with Seesmic, it is a click away, which makes video commenting a breeze.
The concept is very novel and still looking to gain significant traction. Everything is done to make this happen though: Beyond a video social network, Seesmic is a video comment technology provider. It offers a freely accessible read/write API (from what I understood), which is already being used by more than a dozen technology partners. If you always wanted your visitors to communicate through video on your site, well now you can enable this. According to Loic Le Meur, the API is a no-brainer.
The Seesmic team went a step further in the social media game. In April of last year (2008), the company acquired the Twitter desktop client Thwirl, by far the most popular Twitter app on the market at the time. The team worked hard on the development of this Adobe Air app, and turned it into a real social media companion by enabling posting to Seesmic, Friendfeed (I don’t remember if you could already do this before the acquisition), laconi.ca, identi.ca, and more recently, through a partnership with ping.fm, they added at least twenty other social networks to the list (the dev team is also playing around with the newly released Facebook status API for 2-way communications with the Facebook platform).
I told Loic I would be a more avid user of Seesmic if I could record comments from my phone. He told me that
- iPhone/G1 don’t record video yet (good point!), and
- they are working on a Thwirl iPhone app.
All of a sudden, it made more sense why Seesmic acquired Thwirl, because at first it wasn’t clear to me why a video company would bother to spend time and money on a Twitter client.
The limit of the Seesmic concept is people’s natural shyness. For example, Seesmic’s most noticeable publishing partner is Techcrunch: I find it very intimidating to drop a video comment on a site that attracts several millions known-to-be-bitchy visitors a month, and I am not the only one. The Seesmic team is well-aware of people’s shyness, and Loic told me they are working on developing more private video environments. I guess that it would be easier for me to leave a video comment to my Facebook friends for example.
Seesmic already secured two rounds of funding ($12 million), which gives the company leeway to explore a few ideas before finding the winning combination.