Many people only use Twitter to watch and hear from other people, often celebrities. To that end, Seesmic is reversing the trend of adding more and more features to Twitter clients, releasing today a tweet visualization tool called Seesmic Look, which it’s describing as “a visually rich and engaging way for users to keep track of the people, topics, news and brands from one of the most popular social networks in Twitter.” This is a tweet consumption tool, not tweet production — you don’t have to log in to Twitter to use it.
Look is currently only available for Windows (old school!) and features the very first “powered by Twitter” logo for a third-party app through a formal contract with Twitter. Seesmic CEO Loic Le Meur would not, however, disclose the terms of the agreement.
What’s very smart about how Seesmic is doing this is that brands will be able to pay for “channels” on Seesmic Look, which display their tweets and/or related topics and news, then distribute the branded software to their fans. Le Meur said this would cost a “fixed monthly fee,” waived right now for launch demos by folks such as Ellen DeGeneres, Reggie Bush, Kim Kardashian and even Time.com. You’ll notice this is the first time Le Meur is actually talking about Seesmic making money; in the past he had waved it off as a future priority.
“We know Seesmic Desktop does not fit the needs of mainstream users simply because it’s by nature complex,” Le Meur said in an email. “People who heard about Twitter for the first time watching CNN or Oprah don’t need multiple Twitter accounts support and will never know what an hashtag is, like they never have heard about trackbacks or RSS feeds and never will.” He said he hoped power users would also enjoy sitting back and watching Twitter as well.
Seesmic has raised $12 million from investors including Omidyar Network and Wellington Partners.