Sunday, December 23, 2007

Investing in Seesmic

Something is happening here:

That's a video by Efisia on Seesmic.

I started videoblogging in 2004 when almost no one was putting video in blogs. There weren't any free hosting sites. You had to figure out how to record, optionally edit, compress, and upload your video somewhere, then figure out how to embed it or a link to it in a blog post.

Throughout 2004, there were so few videobloggers, that we all got to know each other. We all watched each others videos. Visited each other's blogs and commented on everyone's videos.

Steve and Chuck

It was an amazing time, which culminated with us all getting together in January of 2005 for the first vloggercon. A gathering of videobloggers in NYC.

Steve and Amanda

In 2005, things changed. Free video hosting sites popped up and more people started videoblogging. When the sites weren't free our fear was that one of our videos would get popular, and then it'd end up costing us a lot of money. At the end of 2005, RSS 2.0 with enclosures started being used so that we could subscribe to each others videos and have them automatically downloaded for offline viewing.

Faces of Vloggercon 2006

2006 saw the popularity of community video sites like YouTube, where you could post video to the site without necessarily posting to a blog.

The videoblogging community did not embrace YouTube because it didn't allow access to the source QuickTime video or support RSS 2.0 with enclosures. We were all happy to use desktop aggregators like FireANT to watch all our friend's videos.

While were were all in our little bubble doing that, a YouTube community was growing, and it was growing quickly. People were subscribing to each other's videos, making comments, and developing a community of people.

Loic on Seesmic

That brings us to the emergence of Seesmic. Seesmic allows a new user to login and painlessly post a video. The first time I've ever seen some of my social media friends on video is on Seesmic.

Seesmic made it easy for them to post video to the web. That's something I've been speaking about for years, helping people share their stories through video on the web.

I missed it the first time when the YouTube community was formed around online video, outside our videoblogging circle, but I can clearly see it this time. Seesmic is unique.

Although still in Pre-alpha, whatever that means, Seesmic has a few features that make it a powerful tool that will help people connect with each other.

1. Easy to record
Recording a new video is easy. All you need is a webcam.

2. Timeline
The timeline lets you see what people are talking about and you can click on someone's video and see it on the same page without having to load up another webpage. Everything is right there in a dashboard.

3. Threaded Conversations
Recently added threaded conversations allow you to step back one video at a time. New features I can see that will enhance this are allowing you to also step forward.

Jim Kukral solicited Seesmic users to post a video explaining why they love Seesmic.

Here's one that starts off with, "I love Seesmic because it's the first application that I've found that makes videoblogging easy."

That's Christian Payne aka documentally on Seesmic.

Much like Twitter, where you can participate in conversations in a central spot, Seesmic introduces a new spin on things by including video. Seesmic isn't a replacement for Twitter, just a communnity site with a rich membership that's growing every day.

Like in the early days of videoblogging where we could all watch every single video that every other videoblogger made, right now on Seesmic you can watch all the videos, but it's getting to the point where watching everything won't be possible anymore.

That's where the friends feature will come in handy to allow you to follow selected people, without restricting you from watching the public timeline.

You can also follow threads of interest.

That's another video by Efisia where she joins in on the conversation about Seesmic users collaborating to make a movie.

And while we're at it, here's Efisia's fiance, my friend, Kosso:

The possibilities are endless. That's why I'm excited to announce that as of today, I'm an investor in Seesmic.

Seesmic is People.

Let me know if you want a Seesmic invite, I've got a few.


  1. Steve,
    This is very interesting. I appreciate the time line of background on video blogging.

    There is no question in my mind about the trend toward video on the web. I have been watching the seesmic community grow around me. If there is still an invite available, I would like to dip my toe in the video water, rather than watching from the sidelines.

  2. An endorsement from you means a lot... I'll have to finally check Seesmic out, now.

    That said, the main reason I've been off it is the same reason I have the spot I do in the videoblogging world. I'm pretty shy of cameras. I'm more comfortable as text, or the occasional photo on Flickr.

    No doubt this can be a successful site, though. YouTube's already too big to continue innovating much; it's up to the next wave to build the next communities.

  3. Hi Jim,
    Send me an email and I'll send you an invite.

  4. Clintus McGintus9:53 AM

    Great post Steve. Congrats on the venture.

  5. Tim,
    You can participate in the Seesmic community by watching too.

    No one says you have to make a video over there.

    You bring up a good point about the perception that Seesmic is a site for video creators, which it is, but as in all online communities there are a large percentage of people who just watch.

    As Seesmic develops and more 'shows' are produced, the word will get out that you don't have to be a creator to joint the community.


  6. Anonymous11:28 AM

    Congrats on the investment Steve. Must be something worth looking into if you're involved :)

    Jim Kukral

  7. Steve, do you mean you're investing financially in the company, or investing your time/energy/talent? Both equally valuable, of course.

    I'm just starting to make videos there (thanks for the invite!) and can see great potential. I actually don't like the all-Flash interface but I can see it makes the immediacy of many videos possible.

  8. Chuck,
    I'm investing financially in the company. This post and a note on my site is my disclosure.

    I've always been transparent when using/reviewing products that I've gotten from vendors.

    This time, I'm investing in the company and want people to know, so that when I write about them in the future they can take that into account.

    That doesn't mean I'm going to only write positive things about Seesmic from now on. I'll still be honest and open in everything I write.

  9. I loved getting this history of video blogging. With the exception of zefrank (whom I watched religiously for the last several months of his year of vids), I've only been the most casual of consumers of video blogs. If you've still got seesmic invites and will give them out to strangers, I'll say a yes, please, to your kind offer.

  10. I'm seeing tons of buzz around seesmic. Not to mention the endless amounts of tweets I see everyday. Video is big right now and there are some great communities growing around it. Still haven't been able to get an invite into seesmic and can't wait to join the community of seesmic.

  11. I'm late to the party about this, but congratulations! I think the people involved with Seesmic are very smart folks and it will be very interesting to see how that service develops. I have an account there, but I need to post my first video!