Seesmic: the new Joost?

Wikipedia describes Loic LeMeur as a ‘serial entrepreneur’. Having built up and sold several French internet businesses, he recently left his senior job at Six Apart (Typepad, Movable Type, etc) to start a new video venture, Seesmic. And in a nutshell, it’s video-Twitter.

Overnight I got an invite to the ‘alpha’ version, and I’m afraid Techcrunch’s Mike Butcher hits the nail on the head. ‘Seesmic already has a number of UK advocates and users, but some have been less than impressed by its somewhat tricky interface, calling it crappy, buggy, bloated and just plain crap.’ Having registered this morning, I’m trying to get into it now, and I can’t. I’m staring at a black screen. Not good.

And here’s the problem. In another article today, Mike also suggests that Joost, the great hope for peer-to-peer online TV ‘won’t last the year’. He quotes a commenter on

The main problem is that there is only very limited adoption among the user community. Far fewer people connect to the system than was originally hoped. Of course, this is mainly due to quality the content (or rather, lack thereof). It turns out that a lot of people download it once, then find out that there is nothing really good on there, then just never reconnect again. Or only sporadically, just to be reassured that there still is nothing interesting.

… which perfectly sums up my experience with the product. The excuse of being an ‘alpha version’ is no excuse. It didn’t justify Joost, and it won’t save Seesmic unless things get better, quickly – even if there’s a market for a video-Twitter… and personally, I’m not convinced. (How many video MMS messages do you regularly send/receive?)

Meanwhile, the BBC’s revitalised iPlayer is building up a decent reputation as a serious element in the BBC’s output. Not least with my two-year-old daughter: on several occasions recently, we’ve only narrowly averted a tantrum by having episodes of In The Night Garden just a couple of clicks away.