It seems Seesmic is already fulfilling its promise as ‘the next Twitter’ insofar as it’s being used for previously unforeseen purposes. Last night I was able to post a video comment on a blog post thanks to a teamup between Seesmic and the comment tracking service Disqus.
There is a clear distinction to be made here between the benefits for commenters and those for readers. Some readers will not be willing to play a 30-second video that they could have scan-read in a fraction of the time. Or will feel frustrated if they do play something that turns out to be pointless waffle. But others will respond to the personal relationship. As Russell Cooper commented: “I imagine that it would create “closer”, more personal networks than text comments alone.”
Generally, you might expect people will only click on video comments by people they recognise or that have generated large responses.
For commenters the benefits are more obvious. Some will be more comfortable with posting their comment by video – I, for instance, find it physically easier. CostPerNews (who broke the story) point out that “some people prefer firing off a quick video rather than typing out a response. While I’d rather type out comments on most blogs, I do see tremendous value in encouraging people to participate in whatever way they feel comfortable.”
Then there are the visual benefits. Robert Scoble uses the examples:
“When we have something visual to talk about. Want to see what my kitchen looks like? Want to learn how to cook a meal? Want to see the injury my kid sustained and you’re a remote doctor? Heck, wanna see what my kid looks like right now? How about can I show you my new cell phone’s UI?
“Want to buy my car based on only my text? How about that piece of art hanging on my wall? Etc.”
As Howard Lindzon says: “For us stock guys, I think it’s a great idea for referencing charts and arguing. At the very least it’s cool and we need to work out the kinks for the good of mankind.”
The biggest problem, for me, is Disqus. Blogan makes a series of points about its limitations:
“Disqus doesn’t yet support any meaningful export of the comments out of Disqus and back into the WordPress database. The longer you stay with Disqus, the more you’re held hostage to the commenting system.”
Gary Denness adds: “Who owns these comments? Where do the search engines direct comment derived traffic to – Disqus or the blog? What happens to the comments if Disqus goes under?”
To see it in action, Robert Scoble has a list of sites that have the Disqus/Seesmic commenting feature turned on:
If you want to install the facility yourself You can find the WordPress plugin for Seesmic video comments here. There’s also talk of equivalents for MoveableType and Typepad.