When you hear the name Seesmic today, chances are that you are thinking about a Twitter client, but once upon a time, Seesmic was a much-hyped online “video conversation” service. Now, however, after a recent redesign, the Seesmic homepage basically doesn’t mention the video service anymore and the video service has moved to its own subdomain. In a new video, Seesmic founder, Loic Le Meur, reveals that Seesmic’s video conversation site hasn’t seen any growth in the last couple of months and that Seesmic plans to focus on its Twitter client in order to give Seesmic, the company, a chance to survive.
This author argued that video conversations, at least in the way Seesmic envisioned them, simply pose too many barriers of entry to become a mainstream phenomenon. Some of these barriers are technical, but mostly, they are psychological, as a lot of people simply don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera. Since Seesmic first launched, the nature of online conversations also changed, asTwitter took off, while Seesmic’s video service lingered.
It’s important to note, though, that Seesmic plans to keep its video service running for the time being, but unless we see a major shift in how users perceive ‘video conversations,’ we have to wonder if this kind of service has any real future, especially given the asynchronous nature of Seesmic in a time where real-time conversations and video streaming, even from mobile devices, are becoming the norm. In his video, Le Meur also notes that other Twitter-based video services aren’t growing right now either, though he hopes that video will be ready to grow again at some point in the future.
Service Still Up, But Completely Deemphasized
We definitely have to give Le Meur credit for keeping the community informed, though. Unlike imeem, which is shutting down parts of its service in the next few days, Seesmic is keeping its service up and running, and the team is communicating with the Seesmic community.
Note: tip of the hat to Allen Stern, who first noticed these changes.