If you can’t see the point of Vine, maybe that’s because you only see the output?

 by Martin Belam, 28 January 2013

There is already a lot of grumbling on the net that new video-loop sharing app Vine is ‘pointless’. Perhaps the point isn’t necessarily the output alone…?

I was joking on Twitter that we’ll shortly see a glut of blog posts entitled things like “7 ways Vine can improve the SEO of content marketing for your brand” and “How journalists can use Vine”. Almost exactly like my collection of Pinterest blog titles from a year ago.

But what I’ve actually noticed is a rather snobby, dismissive tone in quite a few tweets.

It makes me wonder if the old elitism you got from journalists about the huddled masses is re-surfacing as first-world social media adopters disparage anything from newbies.

I’ve seen people say they’ve looked at Vinepeek and “it’s all crap.” I do rather wonder, if you are looking at a bunch of random short video clips that weren’t directly shared with you, and they don’t meet your content expectations, whether the problem might not be your expectations, not the service?

And when did we get to the point where everything had to be so brutally utilitarian on the web?

“I don’t like Vine and I don’t see a purpose for it.” — @DanHowe

“I don't ‘get’ the purpose of Vine.” — @benlakey

“I’m not sure I get the purpose of Vine, what is it?” — @rkehte

I’m 99% convinced that anyone who thinks Vine is “pointless” hasn’t spent any time with a three year old.

At the moment I don’t think my three year old conceives there can be anything funnier in the world than watching jump-cut videos of herself pulling faces. And I know there is very little more fun in the world than watching your kids really cracking themselves up over the silliest thing.

You know, it may well turn out that Vine isn’t sustainable, and that a free six second looping video app isn’t the future of social media, isn’t a “great” idea, can’t save journalism or reinvent advertising. But hey, you know what, I spent about forty minutes having tremendous fun with it over the weekend making short video clips with my daughter, and that’s good enough for me.

If you can’t see the point of Vine, maybe that’s because you only see the output, not the fun had in making them?


I'm still none the wiser what it is, and therefore what I'd use it for. Looks a bit like the sort of thing you'd put in an animated gif only bigger?

Attempt to replace animated GIFs was the first thing I thought when I heard about Vine.

Well okay, second thing. First was probably "What's the Vine thing people keep talking about?"

I suspect that a lot of people who were puzzled by it were driven in part by the suspicion that we were missing something obvious about the service.

After all, it was practically the top tech news story of the afternoon when it launched which suggests all those journalists creaming themselves over this exciting new thing must be seeing something in it that is too obvious to need explaining.

Obviously what was happening was the usual battle for page impressions by websites who will write about anything that Twitter (etc) does regardless of how insignificant it is.

So, the company launched a me-too service of limited appeal but is not overly offensive either and geeks hail the Next Big Thing - to the bemusement of the rest of society.

I've learned over many years to avoid dismissing things just because I might not use them.

I doubt I'll ever do lots of live webcam streaming, but there are plenty of people who do, and several businesses do well out of it (Stickam, Justin.tv etc).

The problem with video sharing apps so far has been that the majority of social media users don't necessarily feel comfortable sharing video of themselves instead of slightly more curated text/photos, but that will continue to change - maybe Vine is still a bit early, or maybe it'll help speed the change up - there's only one way to find out...

The funny thing is how often we read articles on how great companies aren't scared to experiment and innovate - and then the same journalists and tech publications jump on anything that isn't a massive hit...

The problem with really short videos is that you have to be really creative to make something interesting.

Yes, I agree with your post. It seems to me that this has some similarities to people who looked at Twitter and didn't 'get' the point of the tweets taken in isolation. With Twitter, it's often about the community and the interactions. Similarly with Vine we may need to look beyond the 6-second fragments. As I described in a recent post, we should keep an open mind on ways in which, for example, Vine could be used in education.

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