“Hi Mom! I’m on TV: A Seesmic First Look”

Image by Domake Saythink on flickrLast Friday I was honored to receive an invite to participate in Seesmic’s Private Beta. For those of you who don’t know, Seesmic is the hottest invite in Silicon Valley. That’s due, in part to French Founder Loic Le Meur‘s charisma plus a lot of blogger outreach. It also doesn’t hurt that TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington is an investor.

So What Is It?

On its most basic level, Seesmic is a social network for people engaged in video conversations. Because of its use of video, people are apt to draw comparisons with YouTube. The design of Seesmic, however, is much more intimate than YouTube. Instead of being overwhelmed with content, when you login to Seesmic you can either watch the most recent videos uploaded (the public timeline) or record your own. Even Seesmic’s tagline, “Join the video conversation,” contrasts YouTube’s “Broadcast Yourself,” highlighting the underlying difference: YouTube is more for those wanting to create or share video content while Seesmic, on the other hand, is intended for short video messages woven together to create conversations. YouTube is about You. Seesmic is about the community.

Speaking of community, it has grown very quickly over the last month. On November 20th, Michael Arrington reported that there were 300 users. In a Twitter interview Sunday night, Loic said the site has about a thousand users. With almost half posting daily, Seesmic’s community is very active. Loic also stated that there are still around 7000 people on the waiting list for an invite. [See this video explanation of why they can’t expand any faster]

Usability

Seesmic is very easy to use. My MacBook’s built in camera allowed me to just hit the record button on Seesmic and start talking for up to five minute. If you don’t have a webcam, you can also upload videos that you record with a digital camera. Because the site is powered by flash and Ajax, some users might experience a drain on their CPU.

Many people have called Seesmic a video Twitter. Since Twitter is text, you can easily read, re-read and edit before you hit send. Video feels much more spontaneous.

I have to admit, when the camera started rolling, I didn’t know what to say; it really felt like the first time I’d ever left a voice message: “Um, Hi, this is Chris and I, um, just wanted to say…” Thank goodness Seesmic allows you to playback your video before posting and discard if you aren’t satisfied. After typing a subject and a brief description, hit save to post the video. Voila, you message has been sent out to the community and, if you’ve registered your Twitter account, a Tweet is automatically sent informing your Twitter friends that you have posted on Seesmic. Now others can watch your video and instantly reply. And then the conversation starts…or continues.

[Loic does a fun 3-minute video tutorial of how to use Seesmic here.]

Initial Impressions

First off, I have to give mad props to the Seesmic team for creating such a beautiful platform. Scrolling through the Seesmic stream, I watched conversations discussing everything from light-hearted music trivia to more esoteric topics like the psychology behind Seesmic. Loic’s team makes it easy for the lurkers–or those not always on the site–to catch up on the day’s major meme’s by offering a daily review, appropriately titled “Seesmix.”

As a newbie, it was hard to figure out what to say. Twitter asks “What are you doing,” but Seesmic leaves you hanging. Since Twitter’s purpose has evolved as the site has grown, I’m not sure if this is really a big deal. Also as a newbie, I don’t have any friends to converse with. This, however, wasn’t intimidating; all of the Seesmic users seem very open. It’s also just a matter of finding people I know.

In the upcoming months, members will soon be able to send direct messages to each other. Users will also soon have more options like message recording through Skype and distribution through email, Facebook and YouTube. When Seesmic launches in February, tagging and video grouping capabilities will make it easier to follow conversations. This feature will prove invaluable as the site grows. I also see RSS capabilities as something very useful.

Applications

Due to the visual nature of the media, video has a stronger impact that text communication could ever allow. For that reason, I would love to see Seesmic incorporated into company websites. I see it as a place where customers can leave video questions to the company moderated by the Community Manager with conversation threads left for future visitors to see. I can also see Community Managers interacting with customers through polls, quizes or direct relations with the press. It might also be used for internal communications like a video IM.

As I play around with it, I’m sure more ideas will come up. Like any community, it’s going to take some time and energy to fully understand how it works. As I learn and experience, I will pass it on to you. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to pass out a few invites. In the meantime, check out my first Seesmic post.

Are there any quesitons you would like me to ask the Seesmic community?

from www.seesmic.com posted with vodpod

 

[Above image used under Creative Commons License by domake.saythink on flickr]

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8 Comments

Filed under Future of Media, Internal Public Relations, It's A Conversation, New Media, Product Review, Review, Social Media, Social Networking, Video

8 responses to ““Hi Mom! I’m on TV: A Seesmic First Look”

  1. > I see it as a place where customers can leave
    > video questions to the company moderated by
    > the Community Manager with conversation
    > threads left for future visitors to see.

    My company’s up for that. (We’re a UK training company in a particular vertical, non-IT, market.)

    We’re already using Blogs, and Twitter to build a better relationship with current and potential customers.

    We’re “on the Seesmic waiting list” at the moment, (our community manager has an active “personal” account, but that’s his, not ours) though, which underpins my key “integration concern.”

    If we’ve been on the waiting list for a while, then relying on Seesmic to have interaction with our customers might be seen as the SLOW way tohave a conversation with us, since customers would also need to wait for an account.

    With luck, that’s a temporary problem?

  2. Thanks for this great article on seesmic!
    I am not a user of seesmic yet, but I am going to start a “creative video class ” in the College were I teach. Seesmic will be perfect to engage my future students in a video discussion/relation/sharing…

  3. Great post – I just got my invite as well and am working on a similar analysis for Seesmic in real estate… see you on Seesmic!

  4. Thanks for the comments, guys! :)

    @mark: I commend you for your integration of social media technology to build customer relationships. I think more people could learn from your example. Re the waitlist: I think once Seesmic officially goes live, that won’t be a problem.

    @tiil: Awesome idea. I think Seesmic could be a great tool for anyone looking to express themselves through video!

    @Steven: Can’t wait to read (or view) your discussion of Seesmic’s use in real estate.

  5. I enjoyed your seesmicks! Here are some guidelines for noobs on seesmic that I’m mulling over. Tell me what you think.

    Starting off on seesmic with a simple “hello” video that tells us where you can be found on the web and what interests you is a great beginning! (It’s best to keep this first vid under a minute, like you did).

    The next vid should be a response to another vid, and make it a bit goofy, to show us you aren’t there to market to us like feeding fodder to cows. And this is exactly what you did, rockin’ out to ‘zepplin in response to another post! Perfect!

    The third and following videos should be responses to popular conversations at the time. Although you can start your own topic at any time, I’d suggest this “respondant lurking” (nice new term?) for quite a number of videos before asking the community for responses to your original idea.

    The netiquette here is very similar to getting on mailing lists or groups, but a bit of participation is expected on seesmic, whereas true silent lurking is expected on say, a typical yahoo group list.

    I’m still working on general guidelines, but you are definitely off to a fantastic start in this new community! Welcome and I look forward to seesmicking you!

    -Christine (PurpleCar)

  6. Hey Christine:

    Thanks for your warm welcome. Your “Starter Guide” will come in handy as I explore Seesmic. :)

  7. Oh man, I blew Christine’s social rules (oh well, I was never that good at being polite).

    I’m not sure about seesmic being an ideal tool for communication back to companies (even in support roles), I feel like people want to spend as little effort as possible in communicating with companies. However replacing a forum with a video forum would be pretty cool :)

    I thought you might enjoy this seesmic w/ my thoughts on seesmic being a great example of using the same medium to conversate, it’s slightly applicable. http://seesmic.com/BIBSx9Umi6

  8. Pingback: » Seesmic: offro un invito - Video Monte Ceneri

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