Vine: A Re-Exploration of Instant Video Sharing


On January 24th, Twitter released Vine, and it’s since been labeled as the Instagram for video. This statement seems true at first glance, but what if Twitter is going for a different concept entirely?

The Twitter Promenade

Rewinding to March 21st, 2006 when Twitter was first planted, the initial intention of the service was to tell people what you were doing at that instant, using only a moment’s worth of words. It has since grown into a communication platform while still staying true to its original real-time information-sharing concept. In addition to sharing moments, Twitter has also grown into a platform for sharing a variety of media, mostly using other services (except for the company’s own photo-sharing service). Otherwise, all content comes from third-party sources such as Droplr, Imgur, Instagram, Twitpic, or YouTube.

Just by looking at the few popular media-sharing sites listed above, it’s clear that photos are accounted for and can be easily shared on Twitter. The one gap left in the age of instant media sharing via Twitter is video. Since the rise of Instagram’s popularity, companies have been searching for and developing the “Instagram for video” social service, but they haven’t quite hit the mark yet.

This was my first Vine post, DANCE FOR VINE

The Advantage and Struggle of Video

Since computers have been able to connect to the Internet, people have been able to communicate via text, and social networks have only made that easier. And with social networks also comes the sharing of images and video. Aside from YouTube’s format, though, instantaneous video sharing has been an awkward feat.

In order to tell a compelling story, you have to either edit the video or be able to capture an audience’s attention long enough for them to completely receive the message. This process is time-consuming, so it isn’t for everyone, and for some, the message you try to share is irrelevant or not worth sharing by the time the entire shooting, editing, and uploading process is done.

For the quickest way to share an experience with the world, there’s also live video streaming with services like USTREAM and Qik, but with usually long recording sessions, a lack of editing, and technical viewing restraints, the sharing aspect has yet to catch on. It’s being used now in some successful ways like, but for personal uses, trying to get users to actually stream or watch live video is hit and miss.

However, Vine makes way for a better approach to instant video sharing. It’s similar to Instagram in the sense that it’s allowing users to share what they’re seeing immediately and with ease. Yet in a larger scope, the comparisons from here on out are few and far between. Some users aren’t exactly excited with the concept, but for those who love what’s possible (my self included), it’s a new favorite way to play and share.

Credit: @pasql – “A really incredible computer simulation by @chrisallick”

Vine Does It Differently

Vine isn’t an Instagram for video. It can be something close depending on how you use it, but when boiled down to its simplest form, it’s closer to something like a tweet.

Vine posts are only allowed to be a total of six seconds long, just enough time to deliver your message (and just enough time to make a really stupid joke). This time limit combined with the simple process of creating a Vine post seems like the perfect solution to sharing video. When your thumb is down on the onscreen viewfinder, it’s recording. When it’s up, it’s not. You’re allowed to pick up and drop your thumb as many times as you want until you use up your six seconds. As a result, the end product looks like a chopped, condensed, and quick-cut YouTube video, which is quite perfect for the usage.

Because of the short six-second time limit, users are forced to focus more on the content rather than the aesthetic. There are no filters, there are no effects, it’s just pure “here’s what I see” video. Vine posts also feel more worthwhile for two reasons. First, the user isn’t dressing up something mundane to have an attractive appearance. It is what it is and nothing else. The second reason is the inability to upload from your camera roll, and this makes several contributions in itself: there’s no content from other apps that let you make a bedazzled, ruined-typography vomit of a post, and you also know that all video content is from moments before.

Overall, Vine is something new. It’s visual, it’s happening right now, and you can’t possibly spend much time creating and viewing each post, yet you can tell a story, joke, or narrative easier and with more emotion than other feature-rich services. It’s more instant than other video services and loads almost immediately. It’s practically a gif with sound, and that makes Vine a perfect medium for the Internet’s ever-shrinking attention span.

Credit: @joeyellis – Good morning, internet friends

About Chase Oros

Chase Oros is a right-brained human from St. Louis, MO. He can’t solve trigonometry, but he can whip up an interface design with a thin blindfold. He talks to strangers on a regular basis.
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