Was Loic Le Meur’s Seesmic the precursor to Chatroulette?

Disclaimer: this quick post was oddly inspired by a company that pitched yesterday at Startup Weekend Paris called Waazz. Essentially, the Chatroulette-like webcam-based platform wants to be a hub for insult competitions.  That’s right, angry internet users will come to the site to creatively unleash profanities at each other, record the videos and then ask the community to vote for the winner. Classy.

But for some reason it reminded me more of Seesmic than Chatroulette.

No, not the current Seesmic (Twitter client) but the original Twitter that I saw Loic Le Meur and his team pitch a year or two  ago in San Francisco – which currently goes by the name of “Seesmic Video“. For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to check it out yet, it’s essentially recorded Chatroulette; AKA users record conversations and then other users come on the site and record replies and it just takes off from there.

Now, what is the difference between Loic Le Meur and Andrey Turnovskiy?

Being that the platforms are so insanely similar, it’s hard to see really why Chatroulette became such a(n unfortunate) phenomenon and Seesmic Video, well, didn’t – at least not to the same scale as Chatroulette. Perhaps it has something to do with the real-time trend? Loic Le Meur seemed to have hit the nail on the head with people wanting to talk with random strangers via webcam – but recording videos perhaps scared away the masses (maybe the closet-exhibitionists?). Anyhow, behold the slight tweek of Andrey Turnovskiy and presto: if we make it real-time and thus obviously more conversation-friendly, it magically attracts hoards of people.  Oddly enough, introducing additional recording fuctionalities to Chatroulette don’t seem to faze users either. Weird.

Upnext: the wave of “me toos”.

Well, whether or not you agree that Seesmic may’ve been a precursor, looks like Chatroulette may be hanging around for a while. Last week I wrote about a French Chatroulette site, Bazoocam (obviously France needs its own Chatroulette clones), that recently launched a gay version of the site, Camtogays. I’m sure eventually additional niche sub-groups will pop-up and we’ll end up with a proliferation of Chatroulette sites like we have with social networks. Who’s next?

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