Is Video Microblogging Nothing But a Fun Time Waster?

seesmicI’ve been joining a number of video microblogging sites (Seesmic, Phreadz, 12SecondsTV, Utterz, ViddYou) and maneuvering for alpha invites for several more (Hictu and what else is out there…?) but I still haven’t gotten into the groove. More than anything, I am wondering about real business applications for video microblogging. I can immediately rattle off the business benefits of microblogging, especially via Twitter, because the adoption rate with essentially text microblogging sites is still way ahead of audio and video ones. And when it comes to networking for business, for example, size does matter.

So when you add audio but even moreso video to the mix, you end up with a much smaller pool of potential contacts. Not everyone feels comfortable enough in front of a camera, much less broadcasting their video image to others. So is video microblogging nothing but a fun way to waste time and procrastinate from work? Or are there really going to be business applications for these sites once they get out of their alpha and beta phases?

Here are some of the ways I see video microblogging could possibly be used for work, but I’m open to any and all other viable suggestions:

phreadz1. Enhanced comments. If you are going back and forth with a client, you could video your responses to one another and have a record of the dialogue that is much easier to follow than text where misunderstandings can be rampant.

2. Time zone busting. If you are working with others in another time zone, coordinating video Skype calls might be too much effort all the time. With video microblogging, you can record your thoughts then when you get up the next day, your colleague’s video thoughts are waiting for you.

3. Easy demos and feedback. You can’t beat a video when it comes to demonstrating something when you can’t be there in person. You can record a demo of something, and then put it out to your team for feedback. Then again, most of what we do is on the Web and screencasts may work better for many of us.

I was at the BizJam Seattle conference this week and I asked about some potential business applications of video microblogging for Web workers. “Use it for how tos for your products and to show examples of your work,” answered Jim Turner of One By One Media.

4. Cheap video. It was only a few years ago that many of us avoided doing video because of the production expense. Now using the little built-in camera on your laptop is perfectly acceptable recording equipment for Web broadcast quality.

“Press releases are dead,” says Saul Colt of Freshbooks.com, who was also at BizJam. “You can use video microblogging to announce new information, use it for customer testimonials.”

Some Other Pros of Video Microblogging

  • Web-based. Doesn’t require special software to download or configure.
  • Fairly easy. It is pretty simple to get up and running on a video microblog as long as you have your computer camera and microphone working correctly in the first place.
  • Archives. You have a video record of recordings and threaded video “conversations.”
  • Motivation. If you know you are going to be on video, you’ll probably be a little more motivated to look your best and to act your best.

Some Real Cons of Video Microblogging

  • The Gaps. Video microblogging is not real-time unless you are using some of the live video broadcasting sites which then aren’t really video microblogging.
  • Bandwidth Issues. You simply must have a fast connection to get any semblance of video and audio quality.
  • Privacy Issues. How private are these video microblogging sites? Even if you can keep your account access limited to clients, vendors or members of your team, what are the chances of a privacy breech?
  • Bad Hair Day. Let’s face it. For those of us that work at home, do we really want our colleagues to see us? Isn’t the beauty of working from home that we can wear our pajamas all day and not have to brush our hair (or shave)?

I also posed my question to Leif Hansen of Spark Social Media, and he brought up a good point. Some of our potential audience may be in a work environment where they cannot watch video so keep that in mind – who is your audience?

But, Leif added, “there is still a lot of wow factor with video microblogging. If you are a Web worker, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing with it.” He pointed to the positive reaction he gets by adding a video welcome greeting to each person who joins his Ning network. “They always say it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen!” He’s been using Seesmic and Eyejot.

So what do you think? Is video microblogging just too cool to be practical or can you see useful business applications for it at this stage? Do you have an example online of how you are using video microblogging for your work? Or are we just having fun and wasting time?


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