Is the fruit any good?

We’re a little more than 48 hours into the experiment with Vine and I’ve noticed three things:

  • Vine solves, with real elegance, the #1 problem with making videos on a phone; it makes the process easy and fun.
  • I’ve stopped clicking on Vine links in my Twitter feed.
  • I enjoyed, on the other hand, tuning into For about 10-15 minutes. Then the novelty wore off.

With apologies to @jack — who claims that Vine brings to life an “entirely new artform” — I’ve thought for a while now that products like Instagram and more recently Snapchat have nothing to do with art and everything to do with communication:

We’re not using Instagram to make art. Or to hone our craft as photographers. It ain’t Flickr.

We’re just trying to connect with our friends, to start a conversation. Instagram is really a communications platform disguised as a photo app.

I think that applies to Vine, too, unless the intent is to make a niche app.

The main reason there hasn’t been a true “Instagram for video” is that the making and sharing of a video imposes two costs that photos don’t. Namely, it’s much harder to make a compelling video than a decent photograph, and a video requires more time and attention from the viewer than a photo.

Vine goes a long way towards solving the first problem. Playing with the app yesterday, I found it surprisingly easy and fun to make a video. It’s effectively just as easy to make a quick six second video on Vine as a photo on Instagram or Tadaa or other similar apps. That’s impressive.

I’m not sure it does much to solve the second problem. Even though they’re fun to make, it’s not clear the fruit is going to be consistently good. Sure, I’ve seen some fun Vines (is that what we’re calling them?) in the last two days. But for the most part, I haven’t.

Even with the simplicity of Vine, making a good, compelling six second video is tricky and hard. Because they contain so much more information, videos can take the mystery out of things. The experience you’re sharing starts to feel more mundane, pedestrian. ho-hum, and dispiriting even. That’s what I’ve found the past 48 hours, anyway, and why I generally stopped clicking the links in my feed. Or checking the app. Or going to Vinepeek.

I’m jotting these thoughts down knowing full well they could be the basis for some claim chowder down the road. We’ll know more if Vine sticks in the next 4-8 weeks. In the meantime we’re left to wonder: is this going to play out like other new, novel experiences that shot out of the gate fast only to fade quickly (Turntable, Chatroulette) or something more fundamental, like Instagram. I’ll be watching the teenagers in this house closely to see if they take it up (as an aside, I think the default public nature of Vine makes that unlikely).

One last thought: Good on Twitter to do this (buy Vine, launch it as a separate app). Nice to see them being bold, and taking risks, and continuing to try to make cool new things.


2 thoughts on “Is the fruit any good?

  1. Pingback: First Law of Self-Expression « MHALLVILLE

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