Instagram gets video and rips off Vine, but do you really use short video that much?

Marc Flores
 from  San Francisco, CA
| Published: June 21, 2013

Instagram now has short video sharing capabilities, and Anna did a pretty good job of comparing it to Vine and HTC’s Zoe and examining the pros and cons of each. Short videos are clearly gaining in popularity, or Instagram wouldn’t have bothered copying Vine and adding more time and filters to the videos to distinguish itself. But do you actually shoot videos in everyday life?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a six or 15-second video clip may be worth a little novella, right? Or is a picture worth a thousand words because it’s a very specific moment in time -- a fraction of your observations that can never be reproduced again? Since there isn’t much to see outside of the frame of a photo, and there is often just a little action within it, our minds are left to interpret everything else. Did something happen just before or after that photo to make it more interested? We’ll never know, and that’s where these little video snippets come in.

However, as a photographer, I really do wonder whether short video snippets from Instagram or Vine or Zoe will be the way we communicate visually. Before any of these short video services became available, how often were you recording quick video snippets and sharing them with friends or even keeping them to yourself? Is this medium becoming more popular now just because it’s available, and its novelty still hasn’t worn off?

Maybe I’m being too snobby about videos, especially short videos. There are times when a six-second clip can be more powerful than a still image (e.g. when it’s of a band playing a song, motion accompanied by sound can have more impact than a photo of the band just standing on stage). The nice thing about Zoe is that it does hybrid video and still photo clips, although it doesn’t give you the flexibility to customize those clips yourself.

A few days ago I suggested that a cure to smartphone boredom is to create new content, so Instagram’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. The thing with Instagram videos or Vine is that it makes sharing small slices of our lives so easy, and digesting the video clips that our friends share is simple -- it’s all in one stream. Perhaps this new short video fad could be the start of new trends or art projects in addition to just sharing the minutiae of our lives.

So that’s where my question comes in. Do you use services like Instagram and Vine to share what’s happening with your life, or do you prefer crafting and editing your photos and videos so that they can be considered artistic and interesting? I’ve seen everything from documentary photography, art, food, cats, sunsets, fingernails and make-up and more on Instagram, so I’m very curious to know how PhoneDog readers use Instagram and Vine as part of their social media presence. 


Let us know how you use these services, and whether you keep a tight-knit circle of friends or share it publicly and hashtag everything to death so that the whole world can see.