The 24th January saw the global launch of Twitter’s new 6 second video service, Vine. The new app, which is currently only available on iOS, has created lot of buzz for its pick-up-and-use simplicity.
The Perfect Fit
The new service seems to be a natural fit for its parent company, Twitter. Both apps thrive by putting restrictions on their users’ broadcasts. Given that the internet giant Google bought video giant YouTube then it’s only natural that a micro-blogging network would purchase a micro-video app. As mentioned before, the videos are limited to six seconds; however the video doesn’t need to be a continual shot. By lifting your finger on and off the screen the video will pause and continue. This feature has seen the predetermined “#Magic” flooded with videos of disappearing objects, teleportation and stop motion wizardry.
GIFs are everywhere on the internet and frequently feature in chat rooms and forums as there seems to be one for every occasion. The internet’s fascination with these image /wp-content/uploads/files has arguably added to the initial popularity of Vine, as its looping videos easily resemble them. Comparing these videos to GIFs however is a bit of an injustice. Although the recordings are short for videos they are still substantially longer than most GIF /wp-content/uploads/files. Unless you have the right app or technical knowhow, GIFs are much harder to create, which restricts the volume currently available. The fact that Vine allows its users to create these videos so easily and, that the apps platform is simply navigated, means that there is a constant steam of micro-videos coming through.
Instagram VS. Vine
Vine has already been compared to Instagram as they are both visual platforms that encourage hash tags (Vine even has a predetermined list), promote sharing and, although they are social platforms in their own right, rely heavily on their content being shared across the social media giants. Interestingly Vine has come along just a few months after Instagram was pulled from Twitter Cards, yet these micro-videos can still be shared on Facebook.
A fairer comparison would be Cinemagram, an app that lets its users shoot short videos and convert them into GIFs. Cinemagram also has the added benefit of having a list of Instagram style /wp-content/uploads/filters that can be applied to whatever you’ve recorded. It’s hard to say why Cinemagram hasn’t taken off in the same way that Vine has. Obviously having Twitter as a parent company would help anyone, but the micro-blogging site has been quite hands off so far and both identities seem to be running somewhat independently of one another. The GIF creation app must feel hard done by in comparison, but considering the additional length of Vine videos, and the fact that they also feature audio do add an extra appeal to Twitter’s new app.
Businesses on Vine
Like most social networks, those who jump on the bandwagon early seem to instantly benefit. I was quick to set up a Vine account and currently have over 80 followers despite the fact that I have remained relatively inactive. I’d love to say this was down to my brilliant content (one video of a budgie) but I’d be more inclined to say that my account was caught up in initial swell of users. Also, I haven’t gone out of my way to follow other accounts, although I have followed some back. Imagine the possibilities available to a company that adopts this platform early and really pushes out their content, attempting to gain followers.
Although Vine is still mainly used by individuals there have been a few examples of businesses acting quickly and adopting this new platform e.g. BuzzFeed, NBC News, Urban Outfitters, Gap etc. Although it would be assumed that these companies would gain a mass following.
Instead let’s look at First Capital Pictures (a smaller company based in Philadelphia who recently started following my account). An initial look at the stats shows the benefits of adapting early:
• Facebook, 232 Likes, joined 3rd May 2012
• Twitter, 183 Followers, joined 4th May 2012
• Vine, 797 Followers, the platform has been live less than a week.
With all new technology platforms the real joy comes not when it is created but when its users start to think creatively to maximise the potential. One reason I have always loved social media is because it gives smaller companies a chance to think innovatively and battle it out with bigger companies. This is changing though and, with almost every company on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, it is becoming harder to have your voice heard over the crowd. In the meantime, Vine gives companies a chance to compete on a level playing field, for now at least.