TwitPic is moving beyond photos by rolling out support for video. In a blog post yesterday, the company states their intention to be your one-stop shop for sharing media of all varieties via Twitter. Users can now upload video from the TwitPic website, from their mobile device via email, or from any supported TwitPic or Twitter client (such as TweetDeck).
This is interesting news, because it underlines the importance of video. Think about it… pictures aren't going away anytime soon, right? You'd think there could be a nice future in images. But TwitPic wants to get in on the hottest content commodity in the world… video. So, does that mean we have to start calling them TwitPicAndVideo? Or TwitMedia?
Not so fast. Founder Noah Everett tells TechCrunch:
"We've found the term "Twitpic" to be ubiquitous with users when sharing a photo on Twitter regardless of which 3rd party service is used. Our name has been a huge benefit to us and the brand itself has spread world-wide now and even being included in popular rap song lyrics.”
So it's kind of like MTV moving away from music television to show reality programming, or the History Channel moving from World War II content to alien and ghost programming. And I'm not judging them… not at all. You go to where the customers are, and the customers are trying to share videos. Taking a trusted service and adding new options is a solid strategy for growth.
In the future, these videos shared through TwitPic will even be able to be viewed right on the Twitter page, in the stream of Tweets–though that functionality isn't ready just yet. That is one added innovation that will help put them out in front of competitor YFrog, who already offers video upload support.
Here's the company's video announcement about the new video support service, and you can watch the video below. (make sure you stay through the outtakes at the end, because they're pretty charming and funny).
I just have one nagging question, though, if you'll allow it. Why is there no ability to embed? If TwitPic is hosting the videos, which they are, why would they not create a way for users to embed those videos across the web? It makes no sense to me, but I'm willing to admit I'm not the most knowledgeable user of Twitter. Just seems to me that if you want people to be interested in using your upload service–as opposed to YouTube's, for example–then simply hosting the video isn't enough.
Yes, users want to upload video on the go… from their phone… at a moment's notice. And let's just forget, for a moment, that my YouTube Android app can do just that. Why would I want to upload a video to a service that limits how users are able to see and share it? If I'm a marketer, I'm going to stick with YouTube for now. The only thing TwitPic's video service has that YouTube doesn't is the ability to upload from inside a Twitter client–combining the act of uploading and the act of Tweeting into one single move.
Of course, not all Twitter users are brands and marketers, so it's not like there isn't an audience interested in this new feature… there definitely is. And they will use it, I am sure. The ability for followers to watch that video right inside the Twitter stream (once rolled out) will be huge. But if I want my video shared outside of Twitter, I'm likely to keep using YouTube.