In amongst visiting family and parental duties I spent much of this weekend tinkering around with Seesmic - a new invite-only video blogging community I've been given access to. On Saturday I decided to combine this with my new found culinary ambition, and cooked up the following posts:
[ Time passes. Dan moves onto The Red. Pies cook. More time passes. ]
Given that the laptop is my recipe book, and sits on the ironing board in the kitchen when I cook, it was quite easy to create these. I've never video blogged before, but it makes it very easy, at a purely logistical level. You just hook up your webcam and microphone - turns out my laptop has both built in - and record.
It's more challenging in terms of what it requires of you as a communicator. You have to organise your thoughts and have a clear sense of what you're going to say in advance, in order to avoid ranting interminably and getting drawn off on innumerable tangents.
Where the real value lies is that it represents true communication, harnessing speech and body language. It's amazing how much extra information your face and hands deliver when you speak, orchestrating the emphasis and emotional tenor of what you have to say.
I've since posted my thoughts along one or two of the discussion threads happening within the Seesmic community, particularly in relation to the fall-out from the now notorious Facebook article the Guardian ran last week (referenced in one of my recent posts). I managed to run over the ten-minute time limit, so it comes in two parts, which can be found here and here. Somehow I manage to acquire a newborn baby at some point in between.
As with the best of the sites and services emerging in the space, the character of Seesmic is being defined by that of the community it supports. By operating an invitation-only policy the Seesmic's developers can have it alpha-tested by the early adoption crowd; extrovert geeks, sympathetic to the realities of software development, creating experimental content through Seesmic then driving conversation about it through other channels. This approach also has the happy benefit of making it far more intriguing and aspirational from the outside, as well as controlling bandwidth costs.
Overall I'm very excited by Seesmic. It's a very well engineered interface orientated around allowing me to do one thing easily and enjoyably, rather than being a broad set of imperfect tools reaching an equally broad and disparate audience. And, rather than merely incubating my established relationships, it offers the potential for me to connect and develop relationships with new, like-minded individuals. That's what I understand by 'social networking'.