With help from Twitter, a new video app is turning smartphone users into wannabe filmmakers. Cats and food, beware.
First, we tweeted little messages about our lunch — food critics all. Then we snapped pictures of our sandwich on Instagram, claiming to be photographers.
Now we’re shooting short videos documenting each banal bite. Watch out, Steven Spielberg.
Vine, one of the most talked-about new social media apps, turns the man (or woman) on the street into a mini movie maker.
The clips, limited to six seconds and looped repeatedly, can be posted to Vine’s own social network or linked seamlessly to Twitter.
“I love it so far,” said Lisa Grimm of Minneapolis digital agency space150. She has made Vines of her dog bounding across the snow and co-workers doodling. “It’s very creative.”
The free app is available only for Apple’s mobile devices, but social media experts predict it will expand to Android and continue to grow in popularity.
For starters, it has the backing of social media giant Twitter and a direct connection to its more than 200 million active monthly users.
It’s also pretty easy to use.
Touch the screen to record. Lift your finger to stop. Fill six seconds, write a caption and post immediately.
Still, Vine’s debut hasn’t been glitch-free.
Despite its connection to Twitter, the app had trouble finding connections to people already following each other on that network.
Users also have complained that the app isn’t as social as it could be. People can write captions and comment on videos, but Vine doesn’t let users “tag” each other with the “@” symbol like other social networks do. Without that, it is more difficult to get others’ attention and keep a conversation going.
Naughty nudes, then cats
There was an early influx of user-made porn — not uncommon on the Internet, but featured with unfortunate prominence in Vine’s early days (i.e., three weeks ago).
The subsequent outcry prompted the Apple app store to change Vine’s age-appropriate rating from 12+ to 17+. The new designation could keep the app from exploding among the social media-savvy teen set.
Yet it continues to be popular in Apple’s store, hovering in the top 15 free downloads and outranking other social networking apps.
So far, Vine is dominated by many of the same subjects — food, pets and kids — as photo-sharing site Instagram, but with the addition of motion and sound.
While the videos are easy to record and post, the results aren’t as pretty as Instagram, some users say.
“[It’s] much easier for folks to take a pic, throw a cool filter on it and share it than it is to take a 6-second video mash-up,” said Arik Hanson, owner of Minneapolis-based ACH Communications and author of a weekly newsletter on social media and marketing. “The early Vines have been pretty brutal, actually — including mine.”
GIFs to the world
Still, the potential excites social media fans. Web users have long loved GIFs — the tech term for multiple images combined to look like animation — and Vine essentially lets people make their own with video.
Vine’s early adopters have been experimenting with stop-motion videos, utilizing Legos and clay. Foodies are using the app to showcase how-to cooking videos.
Businesses are also hopping on board. Wheat Thins, for example, was using Vine to promote its crackers on Twitter during the Super Bowl.
“People are just discovering the interactive potential,” said Danny Olson, senior digital strategist at public relations firm Weber Shandwick. “You forget that you’re watching something that’s only six seconds long.”
Katie Humphrey • 612-673-4758