Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Is 2008 the year of video for social media?

Viddler, Seesmic, Qik, DanceJam, Strutta. It seems that video-chat/sharing/streaming sites are hotter than ever heading into the tech conference Super Bowl that is SXSW. Even YouTube is preparing to roll out live video capability later this year.

Last year Twitter vaulted into the collective consciousness of online geekdom at SXSW, and is still growing today. But even with that growth, the site still has only around a million users, and continues to face nagging outages as it struggles to scale to meet the increased server demand. And many are thinking that the service could be down for the count in the coming days as SXSW gets started officially this Friday.

So moving forward, there's two issues to consider here; which if any of these sites/services will be a hit with online geeks, and can any of them crossover and appeal to the masses?

First, I should say upfront that my level of usage with any of these sites/services is minimal at best. But looking at what they offer and could offer, I see three that might have what it takes to become the next big social hit.

1 - DanceJam. I think DanceJam has a couple of things going for it. One, it has MC Hammer's name attached to it. Yes I realize that this isn't 1991, but celebrity is celebrity, and in a very crowded field, it really helps to have a 'known' name associated with the site (it also counts Michael Arrington among its initial investors). DanceJam is a video-site where users can submit dance videos and 'compete' against each other to see who has the best moves, winning prizes in the process. The community can vote and comment on the videos submitted.

2 - Strutta. Strutta is also a video 'competition' site, but the difference is, the site is built around themes, such as best celebrity impersonation, best dance, etc. The people that submit videos are then tracked and a leaderboard is created. I can see a ton of sponsorship possibilities here, such as 'Best Score on Guitar Hero'. The site isn't open to the public yet, it's currently by invitation-only and I'm looking forward to meeting Jordan Behan at SXSW and learning more about exactly what Strutta has up its sleeve. But so far the idea looks like it could be a winner.

3 - Viddler. The more I hear about Viddler, the more I like it. I added the below video from iJustine that explains a lot of what's happening here, but I love the fact that viewers can add comments that show up as the video is playing(RSS readers click HERE to see the video). Also, the ability to add tags that also offer up advertising will appeal to those that have a following and want to monetize their audience.

But the bottom-line is that right now, all this stuff is still appealing to the geeks, which is another word for 'early adopters'. That's why I think the sites such as DanceJam and Strutta have an advantage over video-chat/streaming services, because believe it or not, everyone doesn't have high-speed internet and a souped up computer and all the gadgets necessary to fully utilize this cool stuff. The number that does is increasing everyday, but we aren't there yet.

If any of you have used these services/sites, what do you think? Which ones do you think we will still be talking about this time next year? Are there any I missed that you think are cool? Do you think any of them will be the 'next big thing'?


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Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to finally meeting you in person too, Mack!

Things have been absolutely crazy here with our Alpha launch and trying to finalize all my prep for Austin, so sorry if I've been a bit out of touch. Rest assured though, we'll be able to finally say hello in person and I can give you an insider's look at what we're building here in Gastown. See you soon!


Jordan Behan

Anonymous said...


It seems to me that every "killer app" has one thing in common: it brings people together.

For the infant internet it was email. Web 1.0: instant messaging. For web 1.5 it was myspace. For web 2.0 it seems to be facebook.

It's even true in video game consoles: For XBOX 360 it was online multiplayer halo 2.

So I think that "the next big thing" will have to incorporate some kind of human connection at its core.

Anonymous said...

I love the Viddler ad model and think it's a step in the right direction. Question...with advances in search technologies allowing for video and audio content to be crawled for key words, will users lose interest if they can't control the advertising popping up on their content? I think we are still a long way from a true ad model (especially with an increased interest in 'live' video) but Viddler's method of meshing ad's with keywords and user generated comments is definitely a step in the right direction. It's almost like a Facebook feed...I see updates from my friends and the occasional ad. I can live with that.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see Viddler getting more exposure and gaining in popularity. It was a service I wrote about a year or so back. In video commenting is slick, and being able to monetize it as well is really neat.

I felt that Joost really missed a large part of what "Social TV" could be when they didn't allow commenting on shows they stream for friends.