The web was abuzz yesterday with the news of the latest browser on the block, RockMelt. It's a web browser that is intently focused on one thing: social interaction. And I think all video creators and marketers should be hopping on the bandwagon.
The browser wars are still in full swing. It may be trendier to talk about the mobile OS wars, or the display ad wars, but the truth of the matter is that the web browsing market probably hasn't been this competitive at any point in history. There's actually a Wikipedia page for web browser market share (who knew?), and here's how they break it down as of October 2010:
- Internet Explorer 44.72%
- Firefox 29.67%
- Chrome 9.71%
- Safari 5.57%
- Opera 3.48%
- Mobile browsers 4.70%
Most of us can remember when there was really only one choice, and it was Internet Explorer. Some of us can even remember a time before Explorer's dominance, when another browser ruled the web: Netscape. During the 1990's, more than 90% of Internet users were on the Netscape browser.
Every so often a new browser emerges to try and compete for a share of the market. Typically they flame out rather quickly and fade back into obscurity—except for when they're made by Google. But the RockMelt browser is different from the rest of the contenders in one key area: it's backed by Mark Andreeson, who created the Netscape browser. So understandably, some people think this one might be different from the other challengers.
And it's definitely different.
RockMelt is all about Facebook and Twitter, and isn't even shy about it. Its aim is to blend the browsing experience smoothly with the social media experience, with little bars around the edge of the window.
The picture doesn't really do a great job explaining the concept. But thankfully there's a video:
Now, what you might be wondering right about now is what an article about a new browser release has to do with video creation or marketing. And I'm about to tell you.
Video producers and marketers around the world should be trumpeting the release of RockMelt with all their might. They should be fans, supporters, and evangelists… even if they hate it and never want to use it. Why? Because it's about sharing.
I'm thinking of something else that's all about sharing, can you guess it? It's viral video. Videos simply do not go viral without a social component. Whether by word of mouth, email, website link, or any other venue, all videos spread through sharing.
RockMelt takes my Facebook account and integrates it right on the browser itself. There's now no need to open a new tab and go to Facebook.com when I see something worth sharing… I can just share straight from the original window. That saves time, which means RockMelt users are going to be more inclined to spread links than users of traditional browsers.
It may not sound like a serious chore to open a new browser tab, open Facebook, and update your status with a link. But web users are a lazy lot—just look at your website analytics sometime to see all that the average user is too lazy to do (click through, scroll down, etc.). Saving users time and clicks means they'll be much more likely to be social with your content, which is what we're all after in this video world.
Sure, we've had StumbleUpon, as well as extensions for Chrome and Firefox that help infuse the browsing experience with a social layer, but nothing so overtly about social media as RockMelt. For that reason alone, we should all be hoping RockMelt finds success, if only because it helps make all our content more sharable.