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Vine; the new kid on the block?

Lots of people have jumped on the Vine bandwagon, without knowing what they’re really in for or where Vine will sit in their online world. Is it just another social platform that the masses will take to or is it a bit like Google+, where only the social savvy (read: geeky) people will gather? Here’s the low down on it, and what I’ve seen/made of it over the past few weeks.

What is it?

Vine is a free mobile app that lets you record and share six second looping videos. The conciseness subtly reminds you of the limited number of characters that are available on Twitter – one of the similarities that led Twitter to acquire Vine in October 2012, before the start up company behind Vine had even launched their own app.  Vine is currently only available on apple devices and its built in sharability (yes, I know that’s not a word) allows you to share clips on Twitter and/or Facebook and draw upon Foursquare to add locations.

What’s all the fuss about?…

Well, the simplicity for one. To record a Vine video you just need to touch the screen to record and let go when you want it to stop. So simple that even my 5yr old nephew mastered it in about 2 minutes! Vine also combines the whole mobile, video and taking snaps on your phone aspect pretty well, and lets its users capture and deliver videos. Like tweets, hashtags can be used to label Vine videos, meaning that the search aspect of these videos is easy for users.

For the average Joe, this is a fun and easy way to upload and share videos. But for companies and brands it’s another window into their brand, allowing them to share visual content about who they are and what they do. In Chris Horton’s predictions for 2013, he highlights that the widespread adoption of Internet, social, and mobile technologies has shifted power from the producer to the consumer”. He goes on to say that “this new “techonomy,” the increasingly sophisticated and highly-connected consumer expects more from brands; he or she wants personalization, relevance, convenience, simplicity, and proximity” and that “to stay competitive, brands need a new approach to consumer engagement and conversion”. And that’s what Vine has the potential of doing – interacting with consumers in a simple, easy and quick manner that’s both fun and personal.

What’s not so good…

Vine isn’t available on Android devices just yet. This tactical move (like Instagram’s) may not matter to us iOS users but for the 800 million people that are due to activate an Android device by the end 2013, it may be a huge deal. These users might already feel neglected by the app, and only time will tell if they accept it with open arms (and unlocked phones). Vine also lacks some basic editing capabilities and doesn’t allow users to upload videos that have been pre-recorded on their phone – something that may annoy users that had attempted to share videos when it’s nearly impossible to upload, e.g. when reception is low.  In its first few weeks, Vine was also in the news because one of its most popular videos contained material that was said to inappropriate for a younger audience – this resulted in Vine being restricted to those that are 17 and over.

The future…

Since going live in January, Vine’s monthly active users grew by 50% last month, and research by RJMterics has found that it has been used by 2.8% of Twitter’s highly-active users. An article by Mashable shared how brands are already experimenting with Vine, many of which are using it to showcase events, products, promotions and communicate their key messages. Only time will tell whether there’s a good business case for using Vine (I predict that there is!) for now though, whatever your reason is for using the app, the fact that it’s owned and driven by one of the Social Media giants, and that video is a huge part of the digital marketing mix gives Vine a promising start.

And finally…

Here’s one that I made earlier…