Video is now officially the startup word of week. After yesterday's launch of Cinemoz, a new revolution is brewing in online viewing today: TwitVid is launching a completely video-focused social network.
While TwitVid previously worked as an easy uploading platform for sharing videos on Twitter (think Twitpic for videos), it has now flipped the concept on its head, making its own stream a go-to place to find cool new videos. You could say it used to be “video for Twitter.” Now it’s aiming to be the Twitter of video.
Does the world need Twitter for videos? Absolutely, says Jordanian founder Mo al Adham, who spoke at CoE last year about his monetization strategy and offered an entrepreneurship survival guide. “The problem with finding good videos online right now is that it’s a fragmented process,” he says. “People rely on their Twitter feed and their Facebook feed, and they search on YouTube, which is a bit painful. While there are several other niche networks, like Instagram for photos, LinkedIn for professionals, there isn’t a network that will simply let you discover amazing videos.”
To become a definitive destination for video on the web, the platform has expanded to offer much more than just videos uploaded onto TwitVid; users can share clips from YouTube, Vimeo, or any other platform. This is what critically sets the platform apart, Al Adham points out, not only is YouTube clunky and not very social, it also limits you to consuming, well, YouTube videos. TwitVid blows the lid off of your experience being source- and format- agnostic.
I have to admit I was initially skeptical; if I already have Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, will I be compelled to add another social network to the list? TwitVid investors are betting I will; the company closed a $ 7 million round of series B funding from Azure Capital and Draper Fisher Jurvetson this fall.
After taking a sneak peek at the platform, though, I can see three reasons it will win viewers over.
First, the site is simple. Videos are large and lush. Wisely,
it’s pulled the best of what users are already comfortable with
from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, using Google+’s
white-background and feed style, with a Facebookish “Like” button,
and Twitter-like sidebars, header and navigation. I’m frankly happy
with the familiarity; why make users learn a new navigation? Also
the fact that grabbing the embed code only takes one click (easier
than YouTube) makes the site especially useful for a blogger.
Second, it becomes apparent the moment you click on its curated
channels (“Indie Rock,” “Short Films,” or “Snowboarding”) that the
site could become a great avenue for artists to showcase their
work. With sleek video channels, TwitVid could take over where we
all left off with the bloated junk on MySpace.
Thirdly, the site offers the ability to create individual public or private channels. While the ability to control your posting privacy isn’t novel, it takes on a new life on a site designed solely for videos. With the ability to create a private channel, I could envision hosting a remote movie screening, inviting friends around the world to view a given movie on my channel. Or it could become a cool TV channel to watch after work, curated by friends.
Having easy integration with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ also makes the barrier to use very low. Twitvid's ability to port your Twitter and Facebook followers into its network and share information back out makes it a seamless experience; I can already see what friends I follow on Twitter are posting.
Al Adham admits that the platform has its share of competitors, in similar sites that have cropped up over the past year like Viddy, SocialCam, Klip, Tout, and even Instagram, which may launch a video function. But they don’t have TwitVid’s traction, he says. The site’s userbase of over 12 million unique visitors monthly will be able to use the new platform immediately starting today. And already, TwitVid’s ability to include videos from any platform sets it apart from the rest, which focus mostly on uploads from smartphones. TwitVid aims to tap that niche by launching an app in the first quarter of 2012.
In this region, it’s not hard to imagine leveraging the platform for bigger social agendas than relaxing after work; TwitVid saw their user numbers grow at a rapid rate during the January protests in Egypt, and it has played a big part in the Occupy Wall Street movement, says their team. Maybe Twitter for video is exactly what the world needs right now.
Check it out at twitvid.com.