Seesmic and Twhirl: Why all the fuss?

by Mathew on April 4, 2008 · 16 comments

So the hot story that is currently top of the pops on Techmeme is that Loic LeMeur’s video-streaming service Seesmic has bought Twhirl. Or rather, Seesmic has acquired Marco Kaiser, who developed Twhirl. Just one question: Why is this such a huge deal? Is it a slow news day? I could see everyone getting excited if Seesmic had bought Twitter itself — but Twhirl is just a client for accessing Twitter, right?

Don’t get me wrong — I think Twhirl is great, and I use it all the time. It’s a great example of an app built using Adobe’s AIR platform, and it has a lot of cool features. But why should I care whether Seesmic owns it now or not? I know Marshall thinks that this is a vision of the Web’s future, but I have to say I remain skeptical on that front (and it seems like others, including my friend Om Malik, share some of that skepticism). If what this deal means is that I get more “I’m streaming — come chat!” invitations every 10 minutes on Twitter, then count me out.

  • http://www.broadstuff.com alan p

    Matthew, I find it interesting because imho it implies that Seesmic is possibly running out of road as a pure videoblog, and has to do morph into something different. And that is interesting…..thoughts here:

    http://www.broadstuff.com/archives/829-Buying-T

  • http://www.allaboutnortel.com Mark Evans

    Alan:
    I think you're on the mark. As much as Seesmic as raised money from a bunch of well-known investors and as much as video is hot, I don't sense any real buzz about what Seesmic is doing that will make it successful.

  • http://www.lucafiligheddu.com luca

    The point is another one. It's pretty common that a news hits the top of Techmeme NOT because the news itself, but because there is a “popular” person that does something, even if this “something” is nothing special. Instead of paying a developer to do that, he hires who already did it. Nothing special actually, but I learnt that news are driven by people and a often a news IS important if people make it important (bloggers, journalists etc.). You are a journalist, I think I'm not telling you anything new.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    definitely true, Luca.

  • John Minnihan

    Hey Mathew,

    This is a a play straight out of Adobe's (nee Macromedia's) book. Get the client (flash in their case) installed everywhere, and then use it as a channel for the *real* model.

    What no one seems to have grasped (yet) is that Twhirl has not only gotten *itself* installed on all these boxes – it got *Adobe AIR* installed too.

    This means that anyone who wants to create an AIR application & leverage that existing user base has one less obstacle. That's the interesting part.

    It also positions Seesmic for a quick left-turn if the video-blogging doesn't become popular. I don't see video-blogging becoming popular enough & the resulting revenue stream (what exactly is the model?) large enough to carry a large business.

    But Loic has to be careful here. With the Twitter API published, these clients are easily produced.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    That's kind of my point, JB — a Twitter client isn't exactly rocket
    surgery, if you know what I mean. So I guess Loic just bought himself
    a guy who knows how to design clients in AIR — hope he didn't pay too
    much.

  • http://www.techwinter.com Roger Kondrat

    I am with Alan, except my focus is on the purpose of the buy. Conversation on that at my site.

  • http://www.andrewlucking.com/ andrew

    If what this deal means is that I get more “I’m streaming — come chat!” invitations every 10 minutes on Twitter, then count me out.

    Hey Mr. ” @mathewi [blog post] …”, guess how I arrived at this post. ;-)

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Point taken, Andrew. But at least I didn't say “Hey, I posted a new
    blog post — come and read it!” and then force you to watch a bunch of
    boring video :-)

  • http://www.awakenedvoice.com robsafuto

    I'm feeling very jaded today so I think that you're probably right about it being a slow news day. Seesmic has a problem in that their user base is passionate, but it's also very small. Twitter is at what 600K users? Seesmic has probably in the low double-digit thousands. So Seesmic needs to do something to get attention in order to build their user base. The Twirl buy is this week's attention getter.

  • http://www.livedigitally.com Jeremy Toeman

    I also can't figure out why SO MANY people are covering this topic?!?! 2 startups that are effectively unknown outside of the 94xxx zip code (yourself not included Mathew!) are all over the place today… bizarre.

  • Pingback: Marshall is right, Twhirl and Seesmic do give us a glimpse into the future of communications

  • http://www.techwinter.com Roger Kondrat

    @Luca@Mat, totally agree, before the web we worried about companies like TimeWarner controlling everything we read and now we have so many different websites jockeying for readers that they end up in essence writing about the same material.

    More is not always better I guess. Is the content today journalism? It certainly is not investigative or introspective.

    @Matt can you email me as I want to do a podcast with you. Should be easy to get in touch with me as I am registered with Disqus.

    Cheers to all
    Roger

  • http://www.techwinter.com Roger Kondrat

    @Andrew I do this to Twitter too. For me Twitter is just a vehicle, but I think Matt's point is that he wasn't being deceptive and / or pushy. I just have an auto twitter in my WP and it automatically pushes out the articles. I don't try to make them any more or less than what they are and my followers know to expect them and if they so desire to read them.

    @Matt I agree with your attitude but in a hawkish environment such as the online media world is you need hardcore titles to get attention that being said making it personal and being salacious is not the way to go.

    Principled and disciplined is the way forward if we want to get respect and grow our readership.

  • http://blog.rogerkondrat.com Roger Kondrat

    @Luca@Mat, totally agree, before the web we worried about companies like TimeWarner controlling everything we read and now we have so many different websites jockeying for readers that they end up in essence writing about the same material.

    More is not always better I guess. Is the content today journalism? It certainly is not investigative or introspective.

    @Matt can you email me as I want to do a podcast with you. Should be easy to get in touch with me as I am registered with Disqus.

    Cheers to all
    Roger

  • http://blog.rogerkondrat.com Roger Kondrat

    @Andrew I do this to Twitter too. For me Twitter is just a vehicle, but I think Matt's point is that he wasn't being deceptive and / or pushy. I just have an auto twitter in my WP and it automatically pushes out the articles. I don't try to make them any more or less than what they are and my followers know to expect them and if they so desire to read them.

    @Matt I agree with your attitude but in a hawkish environment such as the online media world is you need hardcore titles to get attention that being said making it personal and being salacious is not the way to go.

    Principled and disciplined is the way forward if we want to get respect and grow our readership.

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