A new video-based social media startup has appeared on the Web 2.0 horizon, and some heavy-hitters in the web tech world are wagering their investments that Seesmic could be the Next Big Thing.
Seesmic is best described as a sort of "video Twitter" — a video sharing community that lets you share exisiting videos on the web, or create a video directly from your webcam and publish it to your own video stream. To embed videos on a
website or blog, it's as easy as pasting in a snippet of code, just as
you would to embed a YouTube video.
As with Twitter, users "follow" others whose content is interesting to
them, and can choose to integrate their personal video
streams with other social networking sites as well. At present, Twitter and YouTube are hooked up, and Seesmic has plans for integration with Facebook, del.icio.us, Joost, and other social sites, along with the ability to record Skype conversations, video and chat.
Seesmic has not yet launched to the public — it's still at the stage of invitation-only testing — but you can see Seesmic in action on the blog of venture advisor Christine Herron (a participant in the Nonprofit Blog Exchange), or watch the video of CEO Loic Le Meur's onstage presentation at DEMO 2008 at Seesmic's own corporate blog.
One key challenge for the developers, as Seesmic goes forward, will be to find a way to allow users to easily find the content they seek. There is a searchable archives of Seesmic posts at Seesmax.com, but of course a search can only be performed in written text — and the subject lines of the video clips are not always useful in that regard. Tagging with keywords is the obvious solution, although a tag system is only as effective as the people who do the tagging.
But this is not an issue that's specific to Seesmic — or even to online video distribution, in general. If there is one dominant challenge in Web 2.0, riding up from the grass-roots on a constant stream of user-generated content, it is to manage that content in a way that helps users to extract true value from the plentiful noise.