Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, January 4, 2008

Social Media: Insights Into Seesmic Bottom-Up Approach, Community And Advertising Opportunities

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Last night I tried to catch some of the action going on at Seesmic, one of the most innovative and promising new web services out there.


Labelled as a "Twitter with video", Seesmic hasn't yet defined a strong application personality for itself yet, but, and that may be as valuable as having defined one, has been listening with true open ears to everything its first few hundred users have been telling it.

By using a true bottom up approach Seesmic has created a true conversational platform to help, refine and steer the very direction of the company that makes the same platform available.

But is that enough to dive a web company to success?

Is it enough to have enough money, visibility and technical resources to put together a Twitter-like tool with video and then try to get as big as possible to then see where money can be made, or would it be better to have a vision before everything else and then shape it with the help of your community?

Hard to say, as your audience could be driving you a thousand different directions at the same time, unless you have already well figured out where you want to go.

That is also what one of the digerati of the web thinks, when providing his own view on the success potential of the bottom-up drive-approach of the Seesmic community.


Bottom-Up Driven Social Media - Always A Winning Strategy?

Listen and watch to what Cluetrain Manifesto's author and blogger David Weinberger had to say on the effective potential of the Seesmic bottom-up driven strategy:

David Weinberger

duration: 2':15"

Yes, you have got it right. The cool thing about Seesmic is that it allows you to shoot out short video messages to the community while generating a wide, always in-flux, extended party-like visual conversation, where topics and people move in and out almost just like in the real world.

I find the Seesmic conversations truly genuine, often engaging, sometimes dull and superficial, just like in real life.

And it is this genuinity, this final rise of the personal voice in all of its splendor, uncensored and unpackaged for delivery, that makes this content so incredibly compelling.

Compelling for those participating in it because it is very real and extends significantly the number and quality of discussion mates you can have. Compelling for those watching it only because there is often a great deal of personal learning and insight that is normally shared inside these conversations. Compelling for the publisher hosting this community because it creates a true virtual space in which to support the interests and passions of your readers. Bye bye forums, Seesmic is here.

Compelling for advertiser and marketers which could find in the very community members some of the best endorsers and promoters of their own tools and products. Without needing to become all shills.

But Seesmic has still a long way to go even in developing some of what should be its basic features, such as the lack of more powerful threading capabilities. These would allow one to follow and engage in specific conversations at her own time while providing a wealth of valuable content that could be re-sued elsewhere.

Not only.

Seesmic requires still too much of a compulsive, redundant interaction reduced to its very minimum terms. Clicking on the next video to see what the next person said. And next. That gets tiring. An "autoplay" feature which would allow you to follow your favorite friends or conversation threads is all I am hoping for.

Why Distributed Social Media Is Better Than Centralized Social Media

So, let aside the excitement for what Seesmic could be, what appears to me still enigmatic is the apparent focus, a-la Facebook on having another centralized community, which as a consequence requires everyone to go to Seesmic to have a conversation with the people they like.

Is this really needed?

Aren't we in the age of distributed (social) media?

Why should I go to engage in a conversation at Seesmic when I have already built a community of friends at my own site or elsewhere?

I love to have conversations and I love to meet new and interesting people, but I don't think I need to throw myself into a super-busy party where everyone has a micro-span of attention for me and where topic changes every moment?

My friends are not at Seesmic.

My friends are where I have met and invited them before. At my place. Not at some downtown disco where all of our group intimacy and "feel" is lot or where I need to be forced out of any conversation simply because we are a million and one.

Virtual space is infinite, let's use it.

A month ago I posted this short video comment to Loic on Seesmic.

Robin Good on Seesmic

duration: 40"

"MySeesmic" is in fact my own idea Seesmic. I want to have Seesmic on my site, for my readers, with my own lokk and feel. That's what I want: a distributable version of Seesmic that any site can embed and integrate in its pages.

Just as Ning and many of the other Open Social partners, I would love to see Seesmic adopt this new standard and leverage the best from both the distribution potential as well as from aggregating and providing access to all these communities from a centralized space.

To my surprise, last night, Loic LeMeur posted a fresh new clip he has just recorded with Patrick Chanezon of the Google Open Social team, and where Patrick provides some interesting suggestions and ideas to get Seesmic into the Open Social game. If you haven't yet read about Open Social, this is a new standard that allows easy distribution and integration of social media services into other sites.

Loic LeMeur and Patrick Chanezon

duration: 15':05"

Advertising on Seesmic?

But outside of the core implementation strategy Seesmic will use, one of the fascinating aspects of these new innovative social media tools is how they will survive.

What will be Seesmic business model?

Advertising on Seesmic?

Well, the bottom-up video conversational approach worked greatly here as well with Seesmic users spontaneously brainstorming alternative advertising strategies and providing free creative input to Loic and his (and others) future investors.

Check out this great video compilation from Seesmic where not only you get a sense of what it is like to be inside this video conversational platform but where you can also hear some interesting ideas about the possible alternative potential advertising opportunities ramping up for Seesmic and for similar social media destinations.

Seesmic compilation
a) conversational style
b) brainstorming on advertising opportunities (from 3:05")
c) community spirit, tradition and peer pressure at work on Seesmic - you gotta dance! (from 5:51")

duration: 7':41"

Just watching those few video clips gave me in turn a bunch of ideas and as social media wants, I shared back:

Robin Good

duration: 1':51"

Conclusions - What I see Ahead for Seesmic

Seesmic has great potential. Of this I am sure as I saw firsthand by using it the power that this new format, conversational video can have in terms of supporting and energizing online communities, while providing them with an excellent tool to brainstorm, discuss and develop new ideas.

From my own viewpoint, as an online publisher, Seesmic does not have yet any of the key features that would make it a killer app in my eyes. These are:

a) Threading - find easily specific conversation threads o any topic or author you select

b) Autoplay - watch it like TV by selecting the conversation themes or authors or time periods you are interested in most

c) Distribution - allow Seesmic to be built around communities that already exist by making it highly distributable and easy to integrate into any existing web site (like Ning does).

Seesmic bottom-up approach in transparently leveraging user ideas and comments is something rare to be seen and should be great matter of research and study for media students.

Loic, its CEO, is, whether you like him or not, a man larger than life, positive, optimistic, and very determined (and aware) of the role he has chosen to play for himself. He seems to be able attract lots of attention and press coverage but he has definitely an interesting story to tell.

Overall this is a hot mix to keep watching close for a while. It may be pan out to become nothing I would waste any time on, as much as becoming the next truly social media marketing platform I would really bet my best cards on.

One thing appears now sure. Even if it ain't Seesmic doing it, the time is ripe for the real, uncensored conversations to start.

What do you think?

Written by Robin Good for Master New Media and first published on Thursday January 3rd 2008 as "Social Media And Conversational Marketing: Seesmic Bottom-Up Approach And Advertising Opportunity Insights"

Readers' Comments    
2008-01-04 13:07:30


The heart of content of the firm is the great Vinvin. Is Vinvin able to support egocentric and superficial Loic Le Meur ? Is there enough people like Loic, happy to show himself all the time ? Except for sexual sites, there is not.

2008-01-04 08:32:39

sacha monotti

concordo, veramente una "great review"!
ne hai reso l'utilizzo, i suoi pro e contro, talmente chiari che mi รจ quasi passata la voglia di provarlo :-)

scherzo naturalmente, ora mi attrezzo di webcam e poi parto per il seesmic journey!

2008-01-03 22:37:38


Great review.

I'd just like to point out that internal advertising or branding inside seesmic would be a very bad idea.

Rather than bottom up for ads, I'd suggest a top-down outside approach.

Let outside services pay and keep the internals free and ad free.

posted by Robin Good on Friday, January 4 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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