Ever since Kevin Systrom's and Mike Krieger's co-creation, Instagram, sold for a cool $1 billion to Facebook, there has been a mad grab for the next big mobile media sharing platform, a metaphorical gold rush of the 21st century. More specifically, developers have been in a frenzy to bring forward the next breakthrough in social video sharing.
Since that mind-blowing day, I have downloaded at least a half dozen Instagram knock-offs that deal in sharing different sorts of media. In a nutshell: Viddy is an Instagram for video; Kinotopic is an Instagram for cinemagraphs; GIF+ and GifBoom are Instagrams for GIFs; and the new Flickr app is Yahoo!'s answer to the now Facebook-owned photo sharing network.
If you were around last Thursday, you likely know that Twitter launched a video sharing platform of its own, called Vine.
Back in December, you may recall that I quit Instagram. It wasn't over the new, controversial terms (which Twitter went back on, by the way). I quit Instagram because I simply lost interest in the service. I like high-quality images – I constantly rant about how much better smartphone cameras could be if OEMs put a little more effort. So why should I be sharing the best pictures I take on a service that does nothing but crop, scale down and muck up everything about an image's quality? Plain and simple, I shouldn't. So I quit and started exploring different means of sharing pictures.
And I know you may be asking the same thing about Vine. Vine is, in essence, a direct copy of Instagram – with video replacing still images, of course. It crops what would be a 1080p video down to 600 by 600 pixels and limits users to only six seconds. Why should I use it over, say, YouTube which allows users to upload via mobile in 1080p?
Simple. Video is a different beast. Until recently, there has been no easy way to quickly make creative videos on the go without tons of editing and absolutely killing my data plan. Viddy never stuck with me because it is the Instagram of video – it has all the same monotonous content plus a bunch of teenie boppers making videos of themselves with chipmunk voices. (Don't ask.) Vine, on the other hand, gets everything Viddy got wrong … right.
It limits users' videos to just six seconds and it automatically splices clips together. Simply touch the screen to record and remove your finger to pause recording. The end result is a much higher-quality production than a standard six-second video, even if it is only 600 by 600 pixels. It allows users to get creative while it handles the (what can sometimes be) intensive work, splicing video for users.
What separates video from the filtered images of Instagram, though, is that video is more engaging, it tells a more in-depth story than a filtered faux-vintage image and allows users to get extremely creative. Since Thursday, I have seen stop motion clips, a girl with a wand make something disappear, how to make steak tartare, the life cycle of a flower and someone's morning coffee.
This is a far cry from the dozens of pictures of everyone's breakfast and other typical images that litter Instagram every second of the day. The Vine clips I have seen have been creative, funny, interesting and awesome.
On the flip side, Vine currently has one major vulnerability. Porn. If you looked at the Internet over the weekend, that was the major tech story. Following Nick Bilton's find, porn shortly made the Editor's Pick on Vine. While some may not find the issue to be as big as some headlines may portray, it could quickly affect the application's availability in Apple's App Store. Popular premium photo sharing app 500px was pulled just last week over possible child pornography concerns. Such has been the story for any application in the App Store with potentially NSFW content.
No less, I plan to continue using Vine. While somewhat uninspired in design, it's fresh, unique and fun to use. In time, it may prove to be a passing fad. But I don't see that happening. It is a much more interactive way to share a much more interesting six-second story to the online world.
I have only made two (crappy) videos so far. But my mind is racing with cool, funny and awesome ideas for more six-second clips. And the olloclip I got at CES will definitely make my videos stand out on Vine.
Have you discovered a unique way to share video content online from your phone, readers? Do you use Viddy? Have you tried Vine? What are your immediate impressions? Is Vine here to stay? Or a passing fad?