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Fruit of the Vine…

So, I suppose you’ve been hearing the buzz around twitter’s new technological toy – Vine. Vine is essentially a 6 second video GIF creation platform. In keeping with the micro-blogging site’s 140-character limit, Vine extends the twitter abbreviation philosophy: Videos that users post can only be six seconds long, and are played back on a constant loop.

What’s new or interesting here?

Well, people rely on twitter as a source for breaking news, so Vine essentially adds another dimension of content creation and sharing. The content can now be native video GIFs.

At this point you may well be wondering what kind of worthwhile content can be communicated in six seconds. However, didn’t we used to think that about 140 characters? Limitations can be a great way to inspire creativity.

Realistically, Vine is unlikely to steal supper from YouTube or Vimeo, the proposition is too different.

However it may well mark an interesting development in the world of social media. The big boys – Facebook, twitter, G+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, used to get along harmoniously. In 2013 you’re going to be asked to make decisions on your networking. Vine saying no to Facebook will be the first of many instances where the God’s of Social Media Olympus begin to squabble over you and your content.

Many reviews have questioned this as a standalone application, pondering whether it should simply be a part of the twitter app itself. I disagree; in terms of mindset Twitter is all about capturing the moment through text and imagery. A video can be added, but it seldom is. Vine are making it clear that their proposition is micro vlogging, and you can already see some stereotypical ‘GIF Fodder’ emerging. I’ll elaborate on these later.

The question I’ve been asked most frequently this morning is – Is it a video editing tool then? The answer is no, not exactly. In its current form you can’t edit the clips as you go along; if you mess up you just have to start again. Hopefully future iterations will incorporate some kind of editing functionality so that your attempts at ‘capturing a moment’ needn’t be compromised by a misjudged shot, unexpected interference or a shoddy re-creation.

Sign up is a doddle, they even have a really nice video playing in the background which immediately sets the scene. As it’s a twitter product signing in through their client seemed the easiest option. You can still go back and edit your details later on if you want to, but if you just want to get going it’s pretty simple to skim through this process.


Vine sign-up


The first screen after that is the home feed, which at the moment consists of the most popular vines from the past few days. Over time – and assuming I have any – my friends activity will filter though this simple vertical scroll page.

Vine Sign-Up 2

Taking your first video is an experience that does take some getting used to, not so much in terms of usability as ‘what on earth do I film?’ The tutorial function does a pretty good job of holding your hand through the process of capturing your first video, but it will take you a few tries to perfect the technique – timing is everything! The interface couldn’t really be more simple, there’s no bells and whistles. You simply touch the screen to record and release to stop. There’s no zoom or filter functionality, all you can do is point and capture. A little restrictive perhaps, but it presents a blank canvas for letting your creative juices flow.

Vine 3

What I don’t quite understand is why it has a drop down menu for navigation. And, worse of all, the only place you can capture from is the home screen and nowhere else, which is just stupid. Exploring is nice, they’ve created categories which can make browsing very simple but specific. Notifications are notifications, there is no point reinventing the wheel. It really does bug me that you have to navigate to capture though, dropping down home and selecting the camera from the top right is not very intuitive and doesn’t allow for reactive shooting. Many others follow the tab bar at the bottom, it’s a tried and tested nav for photo and video so why not join and remove the barriers for content creation?

On the whole, its simple, its slick but it does need quicker access to capture. A few technical re-jigs and it’lll be just right. Now, time for some cliche’s:

Although it’s not my place to set the bar for a relatively new platform, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve already witnessed some of the key stereotypes that are likely to consume your news feed in the way things like ‘foodstagram’ and ‘selfies’ do now….

Meet “the routine”. Expect to see doors banging, cars starting, music playing and drinks drunken…



And here is “food and vine”. You will grow tired of this after about 5 seconds. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all!


By the way, ‘food & vine’ is my term that I’ve invented just now, and before everybody else claims it I am copyrighting it – right here, right now, in this post. Good? Good.

You can download Vine from the app store right now. If you wish to see me eating food and starting my car in hilarious stop-motion stylee, feel free to follow me on twitter.

This article was written with assistance from Social Media DemiGod Lee Lomax. Cheers for the input Lee.

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