Twitter started out as a text-only affair, with people sharing their thoughts on different topics, discussing events live as they happened, and sharing interesting links to online articles, photos and videos. For a good amount of time, Twitter didn’t do anything about the latter content-type, but in recent months, Twitter has introduced features like Cards, which displays linked article summaries inline with tweets, they updated their iOS and Android apps with the ability to edit photos in a manner similar to Instagram before sharing them, and today, the company has gone even further by announcing an all-new app/service called Vine, which lets you share videos online. It’s an interesting mix of services like Instagram, Cinemagram, YouTube and Twitter itself.
So what’s different between Vine and the hundreds of other video-sharing services in the world today? Well, the app limits your videos’ length to a very short 6 seconds, and constantly loops them like an animated GIF when viewed inside the app. This brevity is in place in order to “inspire creativity”, according to VP of Product, Michael Sippey.
Despite being owned by Twitter, it does not require a Twitter account for signing in (although it does recommend doing so); you can use the service on its own. Once you’re signed in, you can view clips from your friends, explore popular clips on the network, and also search clips by #hashtags.
Recording clips is very simple. You tap on the camera icon on the top-right of the navigation bar, and once the viewfinder comes up, record scenes by tapping and holding. The app records for as long as you hold down on the screen. This way you can have the video quickly cut to several scenes, or use the same technique to create pseudo-stop motion videos. When you’re done, the app allows you to share the result on Vine’s own network, Twitter and/or Facebook.
I’ve tried making sense of the app’s basic idea of sharing short, personal video clips, but so far the whole thing really hasn’t “clicked” with me. Perhaps it will take time to realize its role in my daily life, just the way it took several months before the idea of regularly sharing short, 140 character-long updates with strangers on a network called Twitter “clicked” with yours truly.
But that’s just my opinion. I highly recommend you go ahead and play around with the app. It’s a novel idea, and could change the way you share content online.
“Vine – make a scene” is available for free for iPhone and iPod touch. Twitter says they are working on bringing it to other platforms.