TwitPic has been one of the big success stories for a service built solely on top of Twitter. It boasts over a million users and gets around 2.5 million unique visitors a month to its site. Celebrities on Twitter are now using it, and it made headlines around the world when a man snapped a picture of the Hudson plane crash and posted it to the service. The Twitter community, it seems, wants a way to share media via the micro-messaging service. And the next logical step in that is video. Enter TwitVid.
TwitVid, which was built by the video start-up Fliggo, doesn’t beat around the bush about what it wants to be — “the TwitPic of video,” co-founder Chrys Bader tells me. That’s interesting because it’s a bit different from a few months ago when a number of startups were aiming for a larger goal: to be the larger “Twitter of video.” But Bader sees no reason to try and build a new community like 12seconds and Seesmic are doing. Instead, TwitVid wants to completely leverage the existing Twitter community.
In fact, Bader and the rest of the Fliggo team see such an opportunity in becoming the TwitPic of video for Twitter that they’ve completely refocused their company to be about this new product. And thanks to their core Fliggo product, which is Y Combinator-backed, the team was able to build TwitVid and get it up and running in just 4 days, according to Bader.
It works exactly as you’d expect. You log-in to the site with your Twitter credentials, and then you can use it as a Twitter client. You choose a video to upload from your computer (web cam support is coming shortly) and enter a Twitter message of 117 characters or less (to make room for the video URL). TwitVid then sends this tweet out to your followers once the video is done uploading and encoding. Upload time varies as you can upload up to a 1 GB or 20 minute video. But encoding for most videos takes about a minute, Bader says. And speed should even improve when the site switches over to Amazon’s EC2 platform.
Bader hopes that many of the celebrities that use TwitPic like Ashton Kutcher, will start using TwitVid as well. Today they already got Playboy to use it, always a good way to spur usage — or at least awareness of your product. As you can see below the Playboy video, all the replies to the initial TwitVid tweet and captured and placed below the video on the TwitVid page.
Currently the site runs Google ads alongside the videos, but Bader tells me that they’re working on an iPhone app to work with the new iPhone 3.0 software. And presumably with the recently more concrete new version of the iPhone that can record video.
It’s worth noting that the company does not have the .com domain name for TwitVid. Instead they use twitvid.io — as in “video,” get it?
Update: Bader has just told me: “Anyone can just email their video from their mobile to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll process it for them. They have to link an e-mail account, which they can do before or after e-mailing us the video.”