Mining Crowd Feedback For The Gems

Seesmic (note that Michael Arrington is an investor) CEO Loic Le Meur asked readers what they would do if they were the CEO of the company to encourage daily use by users. Responses flooded in via Seesmic videos, blog comments, Twitter and Friendfeed, and ranged from derisive quips to multi-paragraph business plans. But for the most part they were surprisingly informative.

We have gone through and categorized the comments into broader buckets to get a better understanding of what users want out of Seesmic. The results are graphed in the image above and discussed below, but what’s more interesting is simply using this approach to make sense of all the feedback. Some of the suggestions are quite good near the head, and the community always likes to know they’re being listened to.

Far and away the most popular suggestion involved mobile integration. Users want video functionality on their mobile devices, whether it be web-based or in the form of a Seesmic app. This comes as no surprise with the release of the iPhone and the dozens of new apps, but the potential of mobile video could be revolutionary. Live video chat on your mobile phone, for instance, could revolutionize the way we communicate.

Next were requests to improve community features. The prevailing theme throughout these had to do with increasing privacy settings and making Seesmic less “chaotic” in general. Specifically, users want to confine their interactions within a group of people they care about, whether it be their family and friends or those with similar interests and beliefs. If implemented well, this could generate the community experience Le Meur is looking for, and even make the service attractive to advertisers.

Some more interesting suggestions included speech-to-text functionality, a potentially huge step in indexing videos and improving search results, and extension of the service into education, business, and social networking platforms. On the technical side, users want Seesmic to ditch Flash as their primary development language, the ability to embed videos in emails, and more ubiquitous browser compatibility.

If you’re interested, Loic, here’s our advice: ditch the Flash interface and fast. And let users add more text metadata to videos (tags and links in particular).