Is Vine the next big thing in social media?

  • Article by: KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 12, 2013 - 3:42 PM

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.

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