I’ve been increasingly using Seesmic as a ‘pre-blogging’ tool. What does that mean? It means that I invite comments on a question before the blog post is even written. It means I do some of my research in public. It means that, in talking through an issue with my peers, I clarify what it is we’re really talking about in the first place.
Just as Twitter allows you to throw out a thought and get some quick responses, Seesmic does the same – but with the space and time for more depth and interaction. It is video microblogging – more instant, often, than blogging, and certainly (I would argue) more open: I find I get a richer response from a callout on Seesmic than the same on a blog post. If you want to place it within the 21st Century Newsroom’s ‘News Diamond’, Seesmic is the draft stage, with blogging moving into the package stage – or perhaps a ‘second draft’.
One of the reasons it works so well for this is that the hierarchy of post/comment is largely discarded. A user can feel relatively confident that their contribution will be noticed, and you feel a stronger relationship with the person videoblogging. Like Twitter, this is more conversation than publishing.
The results, then, can form the basis for a richer, more reflective piece of work that better reflects a range of opinion, or even consensus, than one person’s view.
In fact, one potentially useful way to use the service is as a form of ‘panel discussion’. This is what I’ve done with my current Seesmic discussion, where I’ve invited a number of virtual ‘panellists’ to contribute, but where anyone else can as well.
That in turn, you would hope, will attract further comments because of its quality – oh, and nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.
And of course the video thread doesn’t close either. (I particularly like the way that, when embedded, the ‘conversation’ is listed underneath the main video).
What’s more, anyone can embed the video conversation, with any video contribution as the starting point, and invite comments and contributions – as David Cushman has with my latest discussion, which I invite you to take part in. Distributed journalism indeed.