Yesterday, I saw Loïc make a plea for people to come in & make video quickly to show to a journalist, Erika Brown, who he was talking to over breakfast.
So we piled in with gusto, naturally. This is not new. I’ve seen people ask for irc contributions, blog comments, blog posts using tags, tweets usually from the stage of a conference or a demo they’re doing somewhere, to show the network effect – that the net is alive and full of people and doing stuff all the time. I still think it’s cool.
Apparently later (according to Loïc’s daily summary) she was asking why we do this stuff – what’s in it for us. Good question. Don’t know the answer, but don’t think I’m not thinking about it. (BTW – I worry though that when someone outside the group asks “what’s in it for the people in this group?” they’re actually asking “and how can I exploit it in some way?” ie “What’s in this phenomenon for me?” but that’s a whole other lifetime’s blogging)
I have been thinking though about what happens when they try to scale seesmic up. Right now, there are two interfaces essentially – one is the public timeline with every post in it (though it can be filtered for friends and for my vids too) and the other is twitter which announces new videos if the user has provided her twitter details. I’m following this by tracking</a “seesmic” in twitter, so I see everyone regardless of whether I follow them in twitter or not (keep up!) *and* I see every other reference to the word “seesmic” too. Clearly I’m obsessed.
Now this is something we’ve seen before. What starts as a little trickle, becomes a steady stream, becomes a mighty torrent of unmanageable information. Weblogs.com started out like this but was in stream/minor tributary mode when I first saw it. Ah me, I used to love to sit at audio.weblogs.com late in 2004, CTRL+F5’ing to see what was new. When I joined twitter about a year ago I had about 10 friends and some of them were in way different time zones – minutes would go by without an update – now I have it running in my im window and it’s like a constant ticker tape – in fact it’s now going too fast.
Seesmic will (probably) follow the same pattern in terms of the increase in the number and rate of contributions. What I’m interested in, is what happens when seesmic becomes like audio.weblogs.com today. Now at the beginning, although there were some podcast directories, audio.weblogs.com was the best place to go because you could see everything and everything was worth at least a glance at the title. So what happens when the public timeline is whizzing past as fast as weblogs.com? What about when my friends list whizzes as fast as twitter. Well, I’ll miss stuff, that’s for sure, I’m missing stuff on twitter and in my feed reader right now because I’m writing, but the other problem is that while twitter can be scanned, if I want to find out what a seesmers just said, I have to click and open a video. The only way I can see is RSS (with enclosures, I think too – gulp!). This is why I’ve made a feature request for (at least) my feed, a feed of my friends and a public timeline feed. I also want to see feeds for particular tags. We can’t see this metadata at the moment, but I’m filling it in (are you?). And then I want a big tag cloud so that I can follow the zeitgeist of seesmic and dip into a feed based on tags. So I’m expecting that I will then subscribe to certain feeds and go to seesmic from time to time to dip into stuff that I’m not subscribed to. Oy! I think I might like to keep seesmic down to a manageable little community of 150 diverse international shiny new toy freaks :)
Now, this brings us back to Erika’s question: “What’s in it for us?” Why do I do this? Why am I obsessed with shiny new toys like this? Because I like being part of this little group – just like podcasting was 3 years ago. And I want everyone to have the chance to have this experience. Why do I choose some and not others. Well a big differentiating factor is in the previous paragraph – I’ll repeat it – I made a feature request and I’m sure it will be considered and may get somewhere if it’s thought a good idea by the community. Why am I sure? Because I made the feature request that we should have voting on feature request, and it was implemented. So now we’re voting on what things we’d like to see. That’s what’s in it for me, a small bit of satisfaction that an idea I had sitting at a screen in London could ping around the world and get created before my very eyes *and* I believe that I’m not special, if it can happen to me, it can happen for everyone, if they want it.
No screenshot to go with this, can’t be arsed to edit – is there a skitch clone for Windows?