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Has Vine become your go-to app for recording moments? What about Instagram, especially now that it does video along with still photography? And do you even bother using Facebook anymore? Or do you have your Vine and Instagram accounts set up to post directly to Facebook and Twitter? While we're at it, how many Snapchat photos and videos did you send on 4th of July? 

I wrote recently on the issue of signal to noise when it comes to sharing photos and videos on social networks, but I feel like holidays could be an exception as long as we really don't go overboard. And with the rise of short videos, thanks entirely to Vine and Instagram, I'm curious whether the shift is moving toward that medium and whether anyone is taking still photos anymore.

The New York Times recently opined that reports of photography's death have been greatly exaggerated. Nick Bilton, who wrote the article, says that we're more likely to remember photos because of the way our brains work, and that we often give still images our own context. Bilton mentions that when you think of historical events like Obama's first election or 9/11, you're more likely to remember images from those events than videos (although I do vividly remember video footage of the twin towers collapsing). 

I'm hoping that Bilton is correct, and that the death of photography isn't being brought on by short videos. I have nothing against Vine and Instagram videos--I use both of those services myself--but still photography is always going to be special to me, and I think it's going to be the same for everyone else, too. Photos seem to have more of an impact on our emotions, on average, than short videos. The way we look at photos and videos is different, too. How often will you sit and stare at a photo or look at all the elements inside of it? How often will you watch a 6-second video over and over again just so you can really absorb its message? 

Our smartphones are capable of recording so many moments in our lives, whether great or insignificant, and then sharing them with our friends, family and even total strangers within seconds. When you see something really cool, like an awesome fireworks show or two playful dogs tipping over a charcoal grill, which app do you go to first when you invariably reach into your pocket for your smartphone? Is your first thought to take a picture? Or do you instinctively want to shoot video? I'd ask if you're doing a little of both, but sometimes there are moments that happen so quickly that you don't have that option.

In between all these apps and services, there are features that allow you to have the best of both worlds, sort of. High-end Android devices like the HTC One will allow you to begin recording video immediately with the option to take still photos at any time during your video recording session. Maybe those dogs leapt over the grill instead of knocking it over, and in the moments before they reached the grill, you decided to grab your phone, anticipating something really awesome or really awful about to happen. You open the camera from your lock screen and begin recording video, then boom, the dogs jump over the grill in epic fashion. Perhaps at the peak of the jump, you click off a few photos that you can share to your social networks right away while you decide to upload the video to YouTube or Facebook later. 

I've gone on and on about how our smartphones are now powerful little tools that can create beautiful content, or record fleeting moments. Whether you're using your iPhone or Android or Windows Phone handset to make art or as a visual communications tool, your options are greater than ever. Now I'm curious to know how you use those tools and options. 

It's tough to say whether this whole short video thing is going to be a passing fad. After all, we've always had the means to record videos, but the ability to share video snippets is now easier than ever. Since it seems to be rising in popularity, are short videos becoming more natural for you to create and share? Have you switched over full time to shooting short videos only? Or are still photos still a big part of your creativity and communication? Let us know which methods you used to document your 4th of July!


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