A Vine for its Time


Vine videos
I’m addicted to Vine, Twitter’s recently acquired 6-second video service. I Vine my dog-walking, my coffee-making, my cookie-baking, my car-washing. I Vine everything but my wife, and only because she won’t allow it. (If I ever do, I’ll also Vine my time in the doghouse after she finds out.)

It wasn’t too hard to become addicted. I’ve tried many video services before: YouTube, 12seconds, Qwik, and others that came and went even faster. Vine is right for its time. What makes it different?

I still remember when I first heard about YouTube. I was teaching an IT class at Cal State Channel Islands in 2006. One of the professors told me about this cool new video company. The rapid growth of the site didn’t register at first. Other companies had ventured into video, but nothing caught on because video was too resource-intensive and messing with formats was a huge pain in the keester. YouTube was able to grow because it figured out how to overcome those two barriers and made online video ubiquitous.

As I became more immersed in social media, I searched for a service with a quicker turnaround time that could be easily shared. (Even now, creating a YouTube video can be a big production.) When the now-defunct* 12seconds.tv site launched I jumped on it and had fun watching other people post, participating in memes and even starting an iTunes podcast. But most of the videos looked the same, a person sitting in front of their computer, because using the built-in camera was the most common way to record a video. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was restrictive and that limited the site’s growth.

Now, we are able to use our iPhones to shoot a Vine video and post it immediately to Vine, Twitter, and Facebook. That is a huge game-changer.
Because Vine videos are recorded linearly, without allowing for outside video resources, it is very much a “lifestreaming” application. If you check out Vines on our Vinormous viewer page in the morning you will see folks making coffee or going for morning walks or throwing spitballs in class. If you check Vines at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night you will get videos of people at the clubs or in their dorm rooms.

However, the amazing combination of a new medium and vast creativity has kept Vine fresh and preparing for its big moment. Brands have found it and are experimenting, marketers are still scoping it out, and comedians are flocking to it like moths to a wool sweater.

I won’t predict where this will all go, but I’ll keep blogging about the ride.

*12seconds.tv was founded in January of 2008 and closed its doors in late 2010.

Originally posted on Vinormous.com.