Twitter Enters Race to Capture Social Video

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  • January 25, 2013
  • INK Team

This post comes from INK intern Seth Caldwell.

Not long after Facebook acquired photo-sharing community and mobile application Instagram for $1 billion, the rival social media platforms continue to volley back and forth for the next social media addition: video. While video is in no way new to the social media community (i.e. YouTube and a number of other sites), the recent launch of Vine is more a relative of an Internet grandfather, the GIF.

GIF’s were first introduced in 1987 by a man named Steve Wilhite at CompuServe as a more versatile alternative to the JPEG. Due to its overuse in early websites, the GIF was marooned, even rejected by many web developers. Recently however, we’ve seen apps like Cinemagram and GIFShop tweak the image format to great success.

What Vine is attempting to do, on the other hand, is create a hybrid of both video and GIF’s by allowing users to take six second, looping clips and embed them directly into their tweets and Facebook posts. Twitter claims to have jumpstarted the creative juices of amateur videographers everywhere by limiting their ability to express themselves in such a limited time span6 seconds or less. Brevity and simplicity are directions we’ve seen the Internet move towards within social media, but against the capabilities of advanced computer hardware, more complex mark-up languages and expansion of Internet access.

Twitter Launches Vine

One serious innovation that Vine has built straight into the app is the ability for users to shoot and edit their microfilms simultaneously. By tapping the screen of your mobile device and holding it, you record video until released, at which point you may move to another locale and shoot again. This is in contrast to previous applications that require footage to be shot and then edited. This could be a limitation to the experienced cinematographers, but Vine instinctively realized that for the on-the-go tweeter this is a vast improvement.

So will public relations professionals begin to adapt this space for their use? Or will Vine forever be a place for ‘food-vining’ (‘Instafooding’ being banned in some restaurants now) and cat clips? I think that we will begin to see organizations and individuals alike adopting Vine as a way to encapsulate messages in a quick preview or snippet. Much like tweets are great for breaking news headlines, embedded Vine videos can be a wonderful tool for generating interest while redirecting to more information-rich sources. The videos also support audio folks, which brings a whole new meaning to “I heard it through the grapevine.”

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