"The Bite-Sized Video": Vine, Instagram, or Zoe?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: June 20, 2013

It all started on January 24, 2013: the day that Vine was available on iOS devices. “Vine”; what exactly is Vine? For those who don’t know, Vine is a unique video-sharing application (now available on both iOS and Android) that allows you to record 6 second videos, either in snippets or all in one recording session.  Vine was acquired by Twitter in October of 2012, and within 6 months of its acquisition Vine became the most downloaded free application on the iOS store on April 9, 2013; arguably, Vine's "bite-sized" videos could be one of the most popular concepts for media sharing in social networks.

It’s hard not to see the benefits of being able to easily record bits and pieces of video within 6 seconds, especially when it comes to Twitter, which the Vine application was initially built for. People look to Twitter for short snippets of information from news outlets, websites, celebrities, and of course friends and family. The ability to mention other people in a Tweet or use hashtags make it easy to reach out to anybody you want – it’s a social media world that has very little limitations, aside from how many characters you can type into a single status or reply. The one element that brought the Twitt-o-sphere together was taking the same time-saving concept they applied to their statuses and putting it into a video app. Thus, Vine was born, and phenomenally so.

The concept that Vine uses certainly has its benefits whether you use it specifically for Twitter or not. Instead of spending hours on a video editing program trying to figure out how to cut scenes from your own video, you have the ability to simply touch anywhere on your screen for the duration of time that you want to record. When your six seconds are up, the application strings these snippets together to create these short, personal videos. To put it in to perspective on just how easy Vine is to use, I have no prior knowledge of how to edit videos and I created my first Vine video within a minute. "So easy, an Anna can do it."

It’s a simple concept that caught on like wildfire, so naturally it comes as no surprise when other companies want in on the action as well – especially when it’s another popular company, like Instagram. In recent news, we find out that Instagram is adding its own video recording feature to its application which will allow users to do the same things that Vine can do, except the videos last for 15 seconds and you can include your favorite Instagram-y features, like filters. According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, it’s taking “everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves". So basically, it’s Vine... with filters. Depending on what you’re looking for in a short video-making application, 15 seconds and filters might be just what you need.

And then you have the granddaddy concept of them all, which features concepts from both Vine and Instagram and rolls them into one: HTC Zoe. Zoe’s strong point is taking the popular features from both Instagram (photos with filters) and Vine (short video snippets) and rolling them all together to make a creation called a “Zoe”. Zoe creations can vary in time allotments (meaning that you’re not limited to 6 second videos or 15 second videos) but they seem to be directed towards more personal use rather than mass social media use – like bringing a photo album to life, in a sense. The major drawback to HTC’s Zoe back is the fact that it’s not an app that anybody can download; it’s only available for use in select HTC devices (as of right now, only in the HTC One. HTC claims to be releasing both Blinkfeed and Zoe into previously released HTC devices sometime in the future). So while it might not be considered direct competition for Instagram and Vine in the app market, it could be a deciding factor for people who are looking to upgrade or purchase a new smartphone in the future if that kind of feature is important to you.

So which one should you use? If you’re not carrying an HTC device or don’t plan on carrying one, obviously Zoe is an automatic out for you. Also, if you’re using a BlackBerry 10 or Windows Phone device you’re on the outs for any of these applications officially (for now, but rumors suggest that it might not be long before both platforms receive Instagram). But between iOS and Android users, which one is better? Vine would most likely be more suitable for people who frequently use Twitter, and who also don’t care for the filters and photos that Instagram is most infamous for. Instagram, on the other hand, would probably be a better choice for people who do enjoy the use of filters or perhaps need longer than 6 seconds to create a bite-sized video.

So readers, between these three bite-sized applications, which one would you rather use? Do you like the convenience of the 6 second snippets from Vine, the filters from Instagram, or the use of both through Zoe? Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Images via Rachel Simmons, Forbes

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