So why the fuss about this fledgling, yet-another-video-sharing service? Because Seesmic changes the game as far as online video is concerned. One way or another, there are few people who don't have the capacity to record video, but it's surprising the number of people who never use the webcam built into their computer. More usually, making even the shortest video means hunting down the video camera, charging the battery, recording yourself, finding the cable, capturing the video to the computer, editing, uploading to a sharing website, waiting for file conversion to be completed and the video to become available online and then sharing the URL. For all but the most dedicated geeks, this just isn't going to happen, any more than blogging would have happened if it involved making the ink and the paper, plucking the quills, writing your post in Latin or Greek, waiting for it to dry, popping it in a bottle and throwing it into the sea.
Seesmic changes the game because it brings the entire video process into realtime. Record, send, done. And like Twitter, the shorter the better - you're not David Attenborough. No waiting for video capture or conversion. Not only does this lower the barrier to participation, it makes conversation possible. And the architecture of conversation is inherent in Seesmic, as you quickly realize when you use the site and get your first comments back. Typing? forget it, it's so last month, man. I've been critical of the fact that most of the user generated video online consists of talking heads, and that's exactly what you get on Seesmic. But Seesmic is different because these videos are part of a conversation, where people talk to each other face to face.
I'm enormously excited about the possibilities that Seesmic (and the clones which will follow it) offer for communicating with students, such as the possibilities for student feedback (in both directions):
I've read your essay and...In fact, I'm so interested in Seesmic that I've changed my plans. Now I can't see me buying a 3G iPhone next month, unless it has a built in video camera and runs Flash. I'm even prepared to forgo the drooling Apple shinyness to get a lumpier device which can access Seesmic (are you listening Steve?). Seesmic presently calls itself an alpha release, and openly acknowledges that it has rough edges (while asking contributors to the site to help fix them). The interface is coded in Flash, which creates accessibility issues for some disabled users. So does that mean that we can't use Seesmic for students? We can if we follow Brian Kelly's advice about Accessibility 2.0 and risk management of outsourced IT provision.
Dr Cann, can you show me how to...
So stop whining, buy yourself a 20 quid webcam and join the conversation. And for once, please don't leave me a comment below ;-)
Go to Seesmic and sign up, then send me your comment face to face (and add the URL to the comments thread below so the cavemen can see how much fun we're having).