Disqus and Seesmic Pair Up For Video Comments

First, let me say that I am not sure about the utility of video comments. I’ve seen them and even viewed them on Techcrunch and I think they slow down and break up the conversation more than they contribute to it. But I also firmly believe in trying everything at least once before making up my mind.

So with that proviso behind me, the news this morning is that Disqus, the comment system I use on this blog and the company that my firm, Union Square Ventures, has invested in, has teamed up with Seesmic to offer video comments. They are live on this blog and also on Scripting News where I left a comment just now.

So here we go.

Please let me know what you think in the comments and if you have the time and inclination to leave a video comment please do that. I’ll do all my replies to this post in video.

UPDATE: I take back my promise to leave only video comments to this post. I think this discussion is a good one and I’ll be running around all day in meetings here in Palo Alto and I’ll want to do the email reply thing.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. outsidr

    My initial reaction is about 100% in line with “I think they slow down and break up the conversation more than they contribute to it.” After a few minutes pondering it, I haven’t moved far beyond that.Companies continually try to find new ways to make use of video on the web and have been doing so ever since the initial realization that certain video services were causing a boom. Few have managed to hit any nail on the head though, and I’m not sure this application will escape the trend. Inventive, yes. Interesting, yes. Usable outside of a few niche applications, doubtful.

  2. Scobleizer

    Would you like me to teach you how to cook in text, or in video?Would you like to see my new son in text, or in video?Would you like to buy my car after only talking in text, or seeing video?Should I spend some time demoing this new Nokia phone to you in text, or would it be better to show you in video what makes it cool?Should I go on?

    1. outsidr

      Right – Would I like to see any of that take place in a video comment beneath a post? No. The big video guys who emerged initially encompass all that you give as examples. You don’t need, lets say, Seesmic to do any of that.I’m not saying that some GREAT NEW things won’t be done with video by some newcomers – I’m simply saying that it hasn’t really happened yet. I love services like Qik / Flixwagon for example, but they don’t quite have “it” yet.

    2. fredwilson

      Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

      1. Shripriya

        It took me much longer to wait for this video to load and to watch it than just reading the two lines of text. Detracts from conversation – absolutely.

    3. daryn

      Robert, you’re right: for teaching, showing, sharing, and other more uni-directional presentation, video is excellent.What it doesn’t do is necessarily add any value to the conversation in regards to blog comments. Yes, you get the emotion and tone aspects, but does that outweigh the ability to scan comments, shoot back quick responses, and handle the entire thread as a whole rather that a bunch of little pieces? Personally, I don’t think so.As you know, I was a founder of Eyejot, whose value prop was the value of of video over text in an email-like context. From our successes and failures, I can tell you that examples like you described are a great use of the technology, are very effective, and I love that people are embracing video for that. However, non-realtime video *conversation*, just for video’s sake, is a novelty which doesn’t leave much value after the novelty factor wears off.

  3. Scobleizer

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

    1. fredwilson

      Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

  4. Todd Zeigler

    I don’t like the fact that you have to create a separate Seesmic account to use it, even if you are already logged in to Disqus. I understand the reasoning, but find it annoying as a user.Regarding video comments in general, I think the best practice is to separate them from regular text comments so as not to disrupt the flow of conversation. It should work like many blogs handle trackbacks, and the way YouTube handles video responses.

    1. fredwilson

      Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

      1. gregory

        didn’t open it

    2. daveevans

      OpenID anyone?

  5. ilamont

    As Robert pointed out, video is great for illustrating certain points, or telling certain types of stories.Most people who are leaving comments on an article are not illustrating or storytelling. They’re leaving their opinions and observations, and often relaying abstract thoughts. For most people, video is not an effective or efficient medium.

  6. allang

    Is it funny that the seesmic comments you’re posting are cases of video being superfluous (or even annoying)? These are good examples of video slowing down and breaking up the flow of conversation….I would much rather quickly read through a back-and-forth in text if all the commenter does is speak into the camera.

    1. sweller

      There is a place for video to add value to the discussion. Not only that but indexing as well — I would assume that video comments will eventually get indexed by the video search engines. So, yippi for a new traffic angle, especially if you searching the terms “Seesmic video reply from Disqus”. ;)Unfortunately, in this format, it completely breaks up the flow of discussion. Not being able to scan the comments is personally aggravating.

  7. Gabriel Nijmeh

    Just throwing this idea out, not sure if this is feasible and would have to consider the technical requirements.. but what if a transcription of the video is also posted alongside? Would this add value? Would people read it?I’m thinking about Jott and how voice messages are translated to text and posted online.

  8. howardlindzon

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

    1. ceonyc

      Howard sporting the Unabomber look….

      1. howardlindzon


    2. Dick Costolo

      Howard, way to clean up before you went on camera.

      1. howardlindzon

        Headimng to vegas so was practicing the look.

  9. cortland

    “I think they slow down and break up the conversation more than they contribute to it.”Indeed.But, what if video comments were scannable, searchable, chaptered, etc. so that visitors could interact with them without having to sit through the entire video? What if the commenting medium moved largely to video and away from text? What if video was as universally quick and easy as text?Then I think video commenting would take off.

  10. Myrne Stol

    In general, I’m not fond of the idea of video replies. Text is so much easier to scan, to quote, etc. Videos are totally linear.However, as Scoble is showing in this thread, video has its place. Use video if you actually have to show something, not as a replacement for typing.The seesmiq integration would be much better if the seesmiq videos would have a link back to the original thread. Otherwise, I think they would be best hidden from a seesmiq user’s main feed. Comments need to be viewed in their original context.My hope is that people won’t abuse the video option, just doing video because the option is there..A transcript of videos, as Gabriel N. is suggesting, would be a real value-add for a video-commenting service. However, typed messages will always win in terms of clarity.

  11. Steven Kane

    video comments are a solution in search of a problemthey definitely do slow down the process of interaction (also i would argue that the vast vast majority of video comments will never be read – whats the click rate fred?– rendering the idea of dialogue moot)most importantly, written comments at least have the opportunity for thoughtful articulateness. video comments are extemporaneous ramblingkill the feature

    1. Jason Preston

      For most circumstances, a written comment is a much better way to contribute than video.I think there are one or two circumstances where video is advantageous, for example, if Fred made a post asking “how do you unlock your iPhone?” and someone could post a comment showing the process on video, that would *so much more* helpful than a written play-by-play.However, I think MOST video comments are “extemporaneous rambling,” because people are using it because it’s video, not using video because it’s better.I think keeping the option for video comments is a good idea, because eventually people will learn which type of comment to leave in different situations.

      1. fredwilson

        Thanks jasonThat’s what I plan to doFred

  12. Martin Edic

    We’ve been contemplating using Disqus and frankly, I hate this idea. As it is, the rapid proliferation of widgetty things on blogs has been adversely affecting load times and increasing bounce rates as users lose patience- I almost stopped reading this blog before you dropped a lot of the widgets you’d been playing with because of long load times. I think Union Square might be well advised to track this as a potential issue as some of your companies seek to compete by adding features that could adversely affect the sites they are targeting as partners.

    1. Todd Zeigler

      Note that you have to enable video comments in Disqus for the feature to show up for end users. I think that is a good move for Disqus, as this is something I expect most site owners are not going to want.

  13. spaceguy

    Text is much easier to scan at my own pace. Video *can* potentially add value to the discussion, but it can also annoy and distract. It’s nice to have the ability to add video comments when you need to show something and written words can’t do justice so it does have its place. But doing video because you can does not add value and makes it more difficult to follow. Plus, I can scan through text whereas I have to sit through each video. I’m probably not going to do that, especially if there are a huge number of comments.Also…I am not as comfortable talking to a video camera and am also more likely to ramble on when doing so. My written text is much “cleaner”.So, having the capability is great. Using just because it’s there gets in the way.

  14. kenberger

    I hear you about “not sure of the utility”, but I’m certain this is here to stay, and the type of thing that will be spammy, crappy, and net negative to the discussion when in the hands of most, but will add a new dimension in the hands of those who know what to do with it. Furthermore, this really solves the long-standing issue whereby it’s tough to glean tone from written words.Example, I have no idea who this guy is (Loren Feldman, 1938 Media), but I can’t help but find his video posts hilarious. His text wouldn’t do the job:http://www.techcrunch.com/2

  15. Mo

    Along with, all the other things that have been said, here are some of my thoughts:- 70% of the time I consume information on the go, sometime I am walking reading a few words, looking up and reading a few more words so on and so forth, will the video stop when I am not looking? If the counter argument is that you can just listen to the audio when you are walking, than what is the point of video comment? Listening to the audio, while walking is great. It’s like listening to a talk show but with a lot of participants.- Even while not mobile, I still multi-task while consuming information, the problem of attention comes up again. Video demands my continuos visual attention, text or audio doesn’t.- I agree with you in your response to Robert, Video is great for certain things. All the things Robert listed are great uses of Video comments, but what we need is a hybrid, not all comments need to be in text, some are just as great in getting the point across using other forms of media such as photos, audio, video, animation et al. So yes, their is a place for video, but I don’t think an all video commenting system is that great. If you are saying something/opinionating, type it or audio record it. If you want to show/describe/explain me some object, than use video.- I also agree with others who said that a transcript of the video would be good.- Lastly, almost any new information consumption technology must pass the mobile friendly test. The usage of mobile internet and ownership of smart mobile devices is only increasing with every new device that is released.Oh and Howard, please spare us the horror, next time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Philippe Bradley

    not really a fan, personally. it’s a hassle turning off my music/having someone talk over my music/not being able to get someone’s point of view in a work environment (or any other environment where it wouldn’t be appropriate/would be weird to play videos out loud of people talking) / not being able to copy paste/not being multidevice friendlyEDIT: also, I read pretty damn fast – and I usually scan comment threads in a flash to see what points people have made, which ones deserve a reply, etc. How the hell do I do that with videos?please, if you have something really worth saying, and/or visuals bring nothing to your argument, and/or you have trouble getting to the point quickly when you talk (I know I do), SAY IT IN TEXT!on a side note, I would *love* to have Loic’s powers of persuasion/marketing – seesmic keeps popping up (to my irritation, sadly) in very impressive shopfronts, like this one.

  17. Alberto Escarlate

    If video comment is an acquired I’m not there yet. Too me it’s similar to voice mail which I usually don’t have much patience to sit through. Text comments are more thoughtful because you can stop and think……and edit until you’re sure your comment makes sense (hope this one does).I think that the talking heads that we see on Seesmic now will evolve to something more exciting and interesting to watch. It’s almost like a new language needs to be created for video comments.

    1. Alberto Escarlate

      Perhaps speech-to-text technology could be appended to the video comment to make it readable and searchable.

      1. fredwilson

        Sppech to text is still not that great for an application like that

        1. BillKosMD

          Speech recognition would work

  18. Joe Lazarus

    Fred, why don’t the video comments appear on the Disqus page that mirrors your comments from AVC…http://avc.disqus.com/disqu…I read your posts from Google Reader. If I want to comment, I click on the Feedburner flare that you added to your feed for Disqus. That link takes me to the link above, but it doesn’t include the video embeds. I’m assuming that’s a bug or some problem with your settings, no?

    1. fredwilson

      No ideaMaybe daniel knows

  19. Zach

    Interesting application of this technology pointed out in response to my BGR post on this matter: http://www.deafvideo.tv/ – good sample post: http://www.deafvideo.tv/vid…This, as I see it, is a very useful application of seesmic’s video commenting. They’re obviously trying to broaden the audience now to garner more attention (and clearly it’s working) but I don’t see any longevity in most instances. All many have already said, this is impractical and confined to a niche. Even in that niche, I doubt it will add much value to the commenting process.

  20. MikeS

    Video comments were tried on TC and they were a dud. NO ONE uses them and those that do are annoying self promoters.

    1. markslater

      well long before the web we were analog social beings with a tremendous amount of value being placed on human interaction. I am a big fan of meeting face to face and so much has for me been lost (the richness of the interaction) in the advances of the internet. I welcome any effort to insert a measure of this ‘richness’ back in to the new world of interacting. So much more can be gleaned from seeing the whites of peoples eyes. I mean how hard is it to ascertain the ass end of someone by email or comments? give me a minute of video or human interaction and i would like to think i have them boxed.

      1. MikeS

        Do you know why video telephone failed?

        1. markslater

          whats your point

    2. howardlindzon

      mike thats a blanket dumb statement. If you have a community, like fred does, it helps make points and just say hi in a different way. cheer up man

  21. jasoncalacanis

    OK, i have to just say this is very frackin cool.that’s it.

  22. Andy J

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

  23. scottpurdie

    I think its great – as well as what Scoblrizer said, you also get to see someones passion, style and actually have a conversation, im starting on Seesmic soon and I think il be able to state my thoughts and opinions better through video. I prefer to present than write!

  24. Rob Long

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

    1. brooksjordan

      Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

  25. RacerRick

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

    1. RacerRick

      All three tries show up in my seesmic account but only one shows up on AVC.weird.

  26. Jody Carbone

    While skeptical whether this will take off or not, I like it. Sure, its easier to read/scan through comments so the eye can pick up on those worth reading, but the greatest benefit to video responses is that it lends a great deal more credibility to the commenter than text.

    1. vruz

      right.it’s way more difficult to say BS with a straight face.(for most of us, anyway)

  27. Griswold

    Video comments offer a few potential benefits, but it’s not the ability to give cooking lessons: it’s the power of non-verbal indicators that don’t come across in text (was that sarcastic? I was smirking as I wrote it)… as a whole I agree that they break up the conversation more than they help it. I can only imagine the kind of ridiculous comment spam this will enable (which will be much tougher to curb).Finally, I don’t have a webcam (and requisite white undershirt with hotel backdrop) with me 24/7.

  28. Yule Heibel

    Video forces me into slo-mo, which interferes with quickly scanning the written comments. Since I resented being slowed down, I found myself doing this (almost involuntarily): I clicked on the video comment, but then simply scrolled down to the next comment (text), consuming both simultaneously …which didn’t necessarily enrich my experience of the thoughts in either the written or filmed comment.I only stopped to watch the videos for more than one second or two if the guy was cute/ interesting looking. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I predict that if this catches on with women and many interesting looking females make video comments, there’ll be a lot more stopping and looking, from both sexes.)As a mature woman myself (maturing in age, not behaviour, necessarily), it won’t do much for my ego to see myself, alas. But it’ll sure increase the eye-candy quotient if it catches on. We all like to look.

  29. JPersch

    I would do a seesmic video comment but I was only able to get 2 of them to play. Twitter anyone.I love the idea. I guess I would , since I was trying to help mobatalk break through in this.

    1. Jody Carbone

      Dang, I just tried to register vitter.com, someone beat me to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Mo

      Seesmic = Video Twitter

  30. BillKosMD

    I was hoping that I could embed the video I uploaded to Seesmic in this comment, but I guess you’ll have to go to the link to see my hummus in a hurry demo: http://seesmic.com/v/JV2Pos…<object width=”425″ height=” 353″><param name=”movie” value=”http://seesmic.com/Standalo…”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”/><embed src=”http://seesmic.com/Standalo…” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” wmode=”transparent” allowscriptaccess=”sameDomain” width=”425″ height=” 353″></embed></object>

  31. Alain Marsily

    I’m not a fan of video comments because I’m unable to make quick views or to go through quickly. Some are boring, some are irrelevant, misspelled,… Videos are OK in some circumstances (reviews,..).But I deadly need is a global comment management tool: where are my comments ? Being able to delete them (or some). I need a timeline, a thread tool, offline comments with others…I have a strong belief : my comments belong to me ! Sometimes, it’s better to delete some of them. Employers are looking profiles and some old comments could be embarrassing ;o).

  32. jeremystein

    glad im done with school.video comments in class = fail

  33. obscurelyfamous

    Hey guys. Daniel from Disqus here and I just wanted to thank everyone for giving it a shot.My assessment is and always has been this: Try it out and give it a chance. Video isn’t a focus here at Disqus (we’ve received a lot of feedback on what IS important to bloggers, and we recognize this), so we left it to the pros to provide the cool video software. Seesmic is a great community and I think it adds something different to the interactivity with Disqus.That said, this will always be an option for publishers, and we’ll never emphasize it over the core of web discussion (text). But there are certain things very appropriate for video (some examples being what Scoble mentions) and I’m excited what people will do with this.

    1. Mogilny

      “Seesmic is a great community”? Community? I don’t get it. Do you mean Seesmic is owned by pretty influential people (Mr. Arrington?) You want to dip into his blog? Clarify.Video commenting is not the way to go. Most commentators don’t use their real name, why would they use a video of themselves? I see this as useful in blogs for teenage girls, but blogs in general, anonymity is important. Also video is not search friendly.

      1. obscurelyfamous

        Yes, they have a large number of people constantly holding video discussions about a variety of topics. I think that qualifies.The main point you raise is anonymity. Obviously this is important to you, but as you can see here, many others are embracing this idea of verified identity/reputation on Disqus. Just as you won’t use your real name or picture, you won’t have to record a video. Choices are good, yes?The second point is that video isn’t search friendly. This is true. There are ways to address it that are not yet addressed. But they will be.

        1. Mogilny

          I guess we will be seeing disqus on techcrunch soon?Oh well, in my opinion, you should focus on your friendfeed efforts or im efforts instead of playing around seesmic. Facebook, myspace, friend connect are just lurking around the corner. Good luck anyways.

      2. Zach

        Just out of curiosity, what would be wrong with targeting blogs for teenage girls? That’s a pretty massive demographic right there. What’s the stat? Something like 120,000 new blogs created every day? The bulk of that falls into the teenage category I would be willing to bet…

        1. Mogilny

          No. In my opinion, they are sometimes one of the first adopters of mainstream stuff. If you want your technology to go mainstream, you need to target them.

    2. Zach

      Glad you stopped by Daniel – taking your thoughts into account I think you guys are definitely approaching this with the right attitude. It’s a value-add that most will pass on but some will find value in. For that minority, it’s a great feature to have. For the rest of us, it’s business as usual with Disqus.

    3. fredwilson

      Great points daniel and I’d lke to say that you are taking advantage of the incrementalism I wrote about last week by choosing to work with seesmic instead of building this yourselfFred

  34. daryn

    Meta points—————-1. i actually read all the text comments first and wrote my reply to Scoble, before deciding I was interested enough in the topic to watch everyone’s videos (and subsequently realized I was repeating what people said in their videos). Maybe Loic is right, it’s new and I’m just not up to speed with it yet. still on the fence about that… BTW, Loic, to me, “slowness” doesn’t necessarily mean page load time, but rather the time it takes for a person to process the information on the page…2. like stein and fred both alluded to, video often just isn’t convenient, and I, like many others, choose utility and convenience over additional effort. This is especially true when I’m just chiming in to a conversation, not preparing my own post or solliliquy.3. like howard, i’m often squeezing in my blog reading into situations where we’d both rather you didn’t SEE me ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      Like I look in those video comments I left this morning!!! Ugh

      1. tweetip

        fred = just woke up in white tshirt, no logo. loic = just worked out, black tshirt, big logo :))

        1. fredwilson

          I had just worked out actually

  35. Rachel Clarke

    Video only works when you have the time and the patience. I read comments on the go or when listening to music/watching the telly. Which means that I have to stop and change things around to watch the video. So for me, I’ll rarely watch them. Does that mean I may miss out – yes. However, it works for some and does add value, when different browsing habits are in place.What I’d be most interested in though is the stats, not for this post (where I’m guessing the videos are being looked at) but once it settles down. Can you tell if the videos are being watched in your comment stream, or are they just been made and then ignored by other people.

  36. bijan

    my thoughts on video comments

  37. BillKosMD

    From my gadget bag: Nikon S10

  38. dan

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

  39. ุฎุงู„ุฏ


  40. davidorban

    I think I made this happen :)http://twitter.com/davidorb… and http://twitter.com/seesmich…If yes, I can be proud. If not, I still can be proud that I too had a good idea.

  41. GL

    Your in Palo Alto today? Let’s get a coffee/tea or a beer after your meetings. If you have time….

  42. Don Jones

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

  43. Iara Alencar

    Qual a graรงa de coemntar por videos?

  44. brooksjordan

    Yep, it’s a lot of fun.

  45. qwang

    Why not both? Annotated video. Choose from a menu of:- Full play- Transcript (awesome if automatically generated)- Play by segment from transcript (awesome if pauses automatically identified as segments)

  46. Dhru Purohit

    looking forward to more video comments

  47. Ruby Web

    I fully agree with you. Video comments would just slow down the entire site and purpose of the conversation. Clean text is enough with just still pictures as id.The video comment thing, I’m really not for it at all. Thumbs down for it!

  48. daryn

    How are video comments doing?

  49. Grany

    However, I think MOST video comments are “extemporaneous rambling,” because people are using it because it’s video, not using video because it’s better.

  50. Ariel Castellanos

    probando<object width=”435″ height=”355″><param name=”movie” value=”http://seesmic.tv/embeds/wr…”/><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#666666″/><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”/><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”/><param name=”flashVars” value=”video=GU3lN52Oik&amp;version=threadedplayer”/><embed src=”http://seesmic.tv/embeds/wr…” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” flashvars=”video=GU3lN52Oik&amp;version=threadedplayer” allowfullscreen=”true” bgcolor=”#666666″ allowscriptaccess=”always” width=”435″ height=”355″></embed></object>

  51. Loic Le Meur

    Hi Fred thanks for enabling video comments

  52. BillKosMD

    Hi Loic: Is there any way I can embed a video I uploaded on seesmic into a comment here?

  53. paulbradshaw

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.