Vine Is Cool: Just Watch It Grow [Review]


Six seconds of fun.
Six seconds of fun.

Vine is a new, free toy from Twitter. It replaces text with video, but only six seconds of it at a time, shot instant-by-instant. And it’s much cooler than I expected it to be.

People are comparing Vine to Instagram, and that’s a fair comparison. They’re similar. But Vine wins extra points because the thing it offers is new.

Vine videos (posts? Vines? blipverts?) can be many different things. They can be anywhere on a spectrum from animated .gif to single, six-second take. They can tell a joke or a story or just convey a mood.

One lovely feature is the video record button: there isn’t one. To record, you simply hold your finger down anywhere on the screen. To stop recording, you let go. This is fantastic. It lets you concentrate on what you’re shooting, rather than the app you’re shooting it with.

I had one frustrating problem with Vine: after uploading one Vine post, the app refused to upload any more (“Upload error”). The only solution was to force-quit the app (double click on the Home button so the list of recent apps appears, press-and-hold on the Vine icon until an x appears on it, tap the x to remove Vine from the list).

This problem revealed another minor one: there’s no visible saved-but-not-posted state for Vines. The user experience is supposed to be create and post immediately. You can’t start creating, then think again and save that post for later. You have to know in advance what you want to make.

That’s an observation rather than a complaint. I understand that sometimes, the best design choices are about what gets left out rather than what gets added. All the same, it was annoying to have to go through the process of creating a post/Vine/thing, then experience the upload failure, then have to restart the app (and lose the post I’d “drafted” but not been able to post).

Similarly, there are times when the app doesn’t behave as you expect. Sometimes you see a preview of the whole thing before you post. Sometimes you don’t. Again, you can’t save and come back to it later. If you want to be certain that what you’ve made is what you wanted to make, you have to make it all over again. Ah, whatever. #firstworldproblems.

Vine wants you to interact with Vine through the Vine app. When you create a new post, the only way to discover its public web URL is to share the Vine on your fave social network. You can choose to only share it on Vine, which is fine (ha ha, that rhymes), but if you do, you’ll never be able to subsequently return to it, grab a URL, and email that to your pals. Not until that kind of functionality gets added in.

You know what, though? I like Vine. I didn’t think I would, but I do. These micro videos are compelling and fun and a great way to tell a simple story to friends.

Rather like Instagram before it, Vine feels perfectly at home on a mobile device, both in terms of the way you create Vines and the way you consume them.

Uh. OK. I think?
Uh. OK. I think?

It doesn’t insist on having your personal information. It asks for your email address, your phone number and your location but you don’t have to hand over any of them – it’ll still work. Also, it helpfully (and automatically, and invisibly) saves copies of all your Vines as video clips in your device’s Camera Roll. That’s helpful. Thanks, Vine.

Vine has huge potential. A lot of people are downloading the app and filming six seconds of what’s in front of them, which isn’t always very inspired, but give it time. More creative, more arresting stuff can’t be far away. Vines as news? That will come too, I suspect.

Vine has set a new standard, given the internet a new concept to play with. Six seconds of video equals 140 characters of text. What can you say in six seconds? Just how meaningful can you make it?

Source: App Store


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