Vine: Twitter’s Hot New Web Video Social Network

Vine is the new social video

This last January, a new member of the social network family was born: Vine.  As an adopted child of Twitter, Facebook immediately severed all ties with the baby, sensing “the Force is strong with this one.”

They were correct.

During the second weekend of February (Grammys, New York Fashion Week, and the Northeast snowstorm), the video network shared 113,897 videos (2,324 videos per hour).  That’s nothing compared to Instagram’s 1.3 million photos during Hurricane Sandy – but for an infant, that’s nothing to scoff at either.

So What’s The Big Deal?

Vine is a new social network that deals in video – six second (short!) videos to be exact, and coming from the people who invented the “tweet” (the short thought), no doubt – 140 characters or less to convey ideas concisely in a new world plagued by internet verbosity.

Users can simply create a profile using their Twitter accounts (or not) and have their #myfirstpostonvine up six seconds later (give or take pausing for creativity to catch up, or not).  And “Voilà!” – you have a new platform to share, view, and like videos and follow other interesting users who do too.

The Artist - Epic silent filmThe videos auto-loop so one can just scroll down the Vine (ha – that makes sense!) and watch it go.  You can record sound but nine times out of ten, users keep it on mute.  So, in a way, we’ve resurrected the silent film.

And it’s free.  All the most popular media online is free.  If Facebook ever charged for usage, it would be, well, MySpace.  “What’s MySpace?”  Exactly.

In contrast to YouTube (used by everyone), and the new, cleaner, and more trendy Vimeo (used more by artists), Vine videos are – only and always – six seconds long.  Why that brief?  Why not?  Great idea, really.  As attention spans get shorter (three hour symphonies are replaced by 3 minute pop songs) and shorter (Facebook posts trumped by tweets, trumped by Instagram photos), you can either fight an uphill battle with long boring content, or embrace the river and invent a new way to communicate in the ever-moving current of entertainment where we find ourselves.

Even I shudder when I see a web video over a minute long these days.  Time is money, and we all have been betrayed by extremely boring online videos that ate precious minutes out of our day.

The Vine Objection

A few weeks in, Vine changed its app download to include an agreement to a disclaimer, that viewers were “over 17 years old.”  Put any medium in front of the masses and you will always have your share of usage for the sake of filth.

The irrational reaction is to boycott the medium entirely.  But logically one would have to boycott them all for that reason, or all things for that reason.  Which is impossible.

The best laid plan is to embrace it.  Parents who do not know how to add parental controls to their children’s iPhone and object probably should look into mastering those controls.  Many businesses have an extensive social presence but have hesitated “to Vine” because of some illogical press.

Poe the Gnome at LOFO SyracuseAt Cowley, we were one of the first in Syracuse to climb the Vine and use ours to promote Syracuse, along with many other local companies including Syracuse First, NoExcuses Syracuse, Café Kubal, and LoFo – who all have fun showing off the best of our town.

Vine is becoming a cool new voice for businesses.  Brands are using Vine for: everything from quick product showcases, office pranks, and elevator speeches to brief how-to’s, user-reviews, and just plain fun.  It’s not too complicated, but it leaves a lot of room for creative imagination.

Projections

Since Vine is in beta (or we could even say “alpha” at this point) there’s no telling where it’s going to go, what improvements or modifications Twitter is going to make to it.

Many are looking for an editing device (the footage is stop motion and can only be filmed in one shot); others, Instagram-esque filters (black and white, that 1970-somethin’ look, or silent film brown).  Others wonder when the web version will be released (Vine is only available as an app), after Instagram recently added an interactive website last month.

Wes Anderson and the Stop Motion of Fantastic Mr FoxThe major point here is, though Vine shares attributes to other major social networks (both Instagram and Vine are designed to capture “the moment”), it is not the other social networks.  We can compare and contrast all we want, but at the end of the day, it’s not Instagram, YouTube, or even Twitter, its adopted parent.  Vine is Vine, and will evolve as such, with its own rules.

Whether it takes off or wanes is another story.  It has stirred a pretty large momentum thus far and is a very kick-[face] idea (and has Twitter to back and share it); but critics cite the problem that there is not enough new content generated fast enough to engage users.  Only time will tell.

My personal theory is because it’s cool it will do well.  In the end, it’s only a medium.  The main thing that’s going on here is a new form of communication has been born that’s artsier than the rest, a new way to express and communicate.  We are looking at what it’s going to generate.  For the general populous that means expression.  For me it means buzz which means business; and as a marketer, it just making my job cooler, with a fun, new social network.

 

Download Vine from the App Store and check out Cowley on Vine, username: “Cowley.”

Information taken from NPR.org, Vine.co, Wired.co, PC Magazine, and Mashable.com.

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