Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Wave of Seesmic Events This Week Shakes Up Video Conversations

There was a wave of Seesmic events this week that shook things up in the video conversation space starting with Seesmic's founder Loic Le Meur announcing the ability to play Seesmic videos in Twhirl, their Twitter and Friendfeed client based on Adobe Air. Release notes for version 0.8.2 are on the Thwirl blog. You can play videos and see the thread in this test version and as Loic says, "We are working hard on adding recording asap."

Duncan Riley of the Inquistr says:
"Having downloaded it my initial thoughts: this liberates Seesmic. I’ve never been a huge fan of the until previously dark layout of the Seesmic website, but with Twhirl Seesmic becomes convenient and easily accessible"
Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins of Mashable noted that it was only a matter of time for Twhirl to incorporate Seesmic video and had this to say:
"Seesmic continues to be one of the least useful forms of shortform broadcast messaging in the concensus of the general public, but it isn’t for lack of distribution. In recent weeks, Seesmic has grown from being YouTube meets Twitter to a platform for video commenting on blogs, and now with its integration within Twhirl, it’s likely that it’s adoption will increase further."
The next Seesmic event, Seesmic Adds New Threaded Player Feature, seemed to shake things up the most creating a number of aftershocks and debate within the blogosphere. As you may be aware, Seesmic recently created a Wordpress plug-in that enables Wordpress blogs to incorporate video comments along with written comments. A partnership with Disqus, the comment startup that powers over 13,000 blogs, followed soon after making video comments a viral feature on many blogs. Adam Ostrow of Mashable broke the Disqus story and wrote and interesting post on the usefulness of video comments (Disqus Adding Video Comments; Will People Use Them?)

The way Seesmic video comments had worked until this week was that they were displayed sequentially like text-only comments with a date and time stamp. But that changed with their new threaded player with the comments now appearing as they do below as thumbnails along the bottom of the main video comment. Loic Le Meur explains how it works in the video below.

Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch wrote his review, Seesmic Hijacks Comments With Threaded Replies saying,
"It is a pretty cool feature, but it creates a conflict with all the sites that have embedded Seesmic functionality, such as TechCrunch. We love it when people use Seesmic to comment on posts, and there is certainly something to say for threaded comments. Sometimes you want to respond to comment No. 15, but you are comment No. 74. But if these responses become swallowed within the Seesmic player itself, then it effectively gets taken out of the comment stream of that particular post. (Yes, the responses are still accessible, but people will really have to hunt for them)."
Duncan Riley on the other hand disagreed and posted this response to Erick Shonfeld's post.

Le Meur also replied with a post on his blog: We Are Not Hijacking Anything! You can read more related articles on Techmeme.

Seesmic video comments also got another boost when cocomment CEO Matt Colebourne announced that they will be adding video comments on their web site and blog network.

Finally, news that Seesmic secured a second round of funding co-led by Omidyar Network and Wellington Partners. Le Meur details his account of how the deal came together on his blog which included an interesting Tweet from investor Pierre Omidyar who also recorded a Seesmic greeting using the new threaded player. UPDATE: FYI, Pierre Omidyar is the founder and chairman of eBay. Here's another post from that tells more on Omidyar and Seesmic.

This brings Seesmic's funding to $12 million US. Le Meur said this about Seesmic's business strategy,
"Monetizing Seesmic won't occur in the next 12 months, we are focusing on the community and the platform. I believe video adsense like advertising will be huge and TV advertising dollars will finally shift online, but it will take 3 to 5 years, this is why we need funding to be there when it grows."
This wraps up my report on the major Seesmic events from this past week. If you haven't tried Sessmic yet, now is the time to join the video conversation.