Twitter's New "Vine" Video Service: Its Purpose, Uses and Reception
The idea that brevity and constraint spurs creativity has birthed a new service that could be the next big thing in the social networking and content marketing world. This week Twitter introduced Vine, an app that lets users capture and share very short looping videos, each limited to only six seconds or less. Twitter itself, being a type of microblogging site, has been known for years for inspiring originality through brevity. Its limit of 140 characters on tweets has led both private and corporate users to be quite creative in how they express themselves.
At the moment the Vine app is only available for the iPhone and iPod Touch; it can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store. Functionality for Androids and other mobile platforms is expected to be added soon, although no official date for this addition has yet been released. Other social media sites seem to be taking the development seriously; most noticeably, Facebook quickly removed the ability to search for Facebook friends from the app.
Vine’s official description calls it "the best way to see and share life in motion." After downloading the service, users can sign up using either their email address or their Twitter account. To create a video clip, users simply press and hold a finger down on the screen of their device. They are given six seconds to film their video, but can start and stop recording as many times as they wish during that brief time to include different scenes. If they wish, they can add a caption and location information, before posting the video to Twitter.
The initial reception of Vine may not have been quite as smooth as the company originally hoped. The debut was hindered by several glitches, raising user concerns. Many users had cross-login issues, reporting that Vines videos were being posted to their accounts by other people. Some individuals were inadvertently logged into the accounts of other users, creating a privacy concern since users were able to see the actual account holder's private contact details. The problem was attributed to a server bug and the issue was addressed and resolved. However, some customer reviews on iTunes still indicated dissatisfaction with these glitches, which was reflected by lower than expected early ratings.
In spite of these initial problems, early interest in the service seems very strong. Vine has the potential to become a tremendously popular tool that caters to modern sharing-focused online culture. In addition, its release can be seen as a strategic move for Twitter to grow further in the multimedia field.
Although Vine's official description calls the app a simple and fun way to create "short, beautiful, looping videos” to share with friends and family, it is clear that it will be useful for much more than that. High-quality Vine videos may prove to be more likely to achieve viral popularity than longer videos simply because more people will have the time to watch them on the go. At the same time, these videos will be able to communicate a tremendous amount more information than pictures alone, creating a major opportunity for SEO specialists able to think outside the box.
That creativity is a key concept behind Vine, no matter what the purpose for which it is used. The service’s creators intend its videos to serve as "little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life." Vine will provide a unique way to promote companies and their products and services online. These videos will of course not be sufficiently long to provide a thorough overview of their material, but they will be perfect (if used properly) to pique viewers’ curiosity and encourage them to investigate further for themselves. Almost since its creation, Twitter itself has provided a unique means of brand building through SEO for those creative enough to use it properly; Vine appears poised to only continue this trend.
Naysayers may think six seconds too little time to communicate anything of value. The success of Twitter, Instagram and similar sites, however, makes it clear that brevity can be a plus in the world of search engine optimization. The SEO universe sees innovation and growth on a regular basis, with some apps, ideas and services making a bigger splash than others. Vine, if it is well implemented, could make one of the biggest splashes the industry has seen in some time.
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