Hundreds of millions of computer, tablet, and Smartphone users from around the world are hooked on sharing moments in their lives through the micro-blogging service known as Twitter. In 140 characters or less, people share thoughts, information, opinions, jokes, and other tidbits of information in the form of tweets. While a tweet can also include someone’s location, a website URL, and/or a photo, it’s primarily a text-based service.
In October 2012, Twitter acquired Vine, a video clip sharing service and app. Vine works very much like Twitter, in that the brevity and ability to use the service from a mobile device are the keys to its fast-growing popularity and success.
Vine works very much like Twitter, but with video. While people are sharing their own text-based tweets, they’re also able to follow the Twitter feeds of others, including friends, family, coworkers, celebrities, politicians, associations, organizations, and companies. Vine offers similar functionality.
The impact Twitter has had on our day-to-day lives has been tremendous, as anyone can share an opinion about a TV show, movie, book, current event, news story, or product and have it seen by potentially hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.
Using the free Vine app, anyone can set up a Vine account (also free), and then record, edit, and publish six-second-long looping videos that can be shared with their followers or anyone searching for Vine videos with specific hash tags (keywords) associated with them. So, the question on your mind is probably, “Why is there a need for a service like Vine?”
Twitter is used to disseminate information and links to websites and photos, along with other far less important ramblings. But, what can someone say or do within a six second video that’s worthwhile? The answer is that they provide a quick dose of entertainment. Many people are using their Vine feed to tell one-liner jokes or showcase some type of visual comedy. Thus, for someone who simply watches Vine videos, what’s available are thousands of quick doses of entertainment that can be viewed from anywhere using a Smartphone or tablet that’s running the Vine app.
Currently, the Vine app is available for the iPhone and iPad from the App Store. An Android version of the app is available from Google Play. Once the app is installed on your Smartphone or tablet, setting up an account so you can watch your first videos, or film and publish your own videos, takes just minutes.
Create Your Own Online Persona and Profile
From the app’s main menu, tap on the Profile option to either create a Vine account profile from scratch or import a profile from your pre-existing Twitter account. Like Twitter, your Vine profile can contain your name, your photo, and once sentence about yourself, as well as your location. The Profile screen also features a Settings button, which grants you access to the app’s Settings menu. From here, you update your account-related email address, phone number, and password, or use some of the app’s built-in tools for locating and following people you know. It’s also possible to link your Vine account with your existing Twitter and/or Facebook accounts.
Using the Vine App on an iPhone or iPad
From the iPhone/iPad version of the Vine app, tap on the Home icon that’s displayed near the top-left corner of the screen to access the service’s main menu. Your options include: Home, Explore, Activity, and Profile. You’ll notice that the Vine app is designed for the iPhone. While it works on any iPad, you’ll need to tap on the 2x icon (near the bottom-right corner of the screen) to expand the app’s window so it fully utilizes the iPad’s larger screen.
To set up a free Vine account, you’ll need to provide your name and email address, and then create a username and password. The process takes just a minute or two.
One you’ve set up your free account, tap Home to view your Vine feed and watch videos published by the people you’re following. Use your finger to scroll down. One at a time, each video will stream from the Internet to your mobile device and play within a window on the phone or tablet’s screen. Below each video window, the name of the video’s creator is displayed along with a brief text-based description of the video, and/or searchable hash tags that showcase keywords associated with the video.
Below this information, each published video has four icons associated with it. Tap on the “Like” icon (which looks like a happy face) to show someone you enjoyed their video by “liking” it. Tap on the Comment icon (which looks like a text bubble) to leave a public text-based comment about the video. To re-Vine the video and share it with your Vine followers, tap on the re-Vine icon (which includes two arrows). To report a video as inappropriate, or share a link to it with others via email, tap on the Share icon (which displays three dots). Then tap on either the Report This Port or Share This Post menu button.
Quickly Discover New Vine Videos to Watch
To explore the Vine service and discover new people to follow, as well as watch popular videos, tap on the Explore option from the app’s main menu. The Explore screen contains a Search field. Use it to type keywords associated with videos you’re interested in watching. It’s also possible to enter someone’s name in this field in order to find their Vine feed and watch their videos.
Tap on the Popular Now icon to see what videos other people are currently enjoying and have ranked the most popular on the entire service, or tap on the On The Rise icon to see which videos are gaining popularity and traction. By scrolling down on the Explore screen, you’ll see individual Vine Channel listings, including: Comedy, Arts & Experimental, Cars, Dogs, Family, Beauty & Fashion, Food, Health & Fitness, Nature, Music, News & Politics, Special FX, Sports, Urban, and Weird.
Displayed at the bottom of the Explore screen is the heading Trending Tags, along with the eight of the most popular hash tags being associated with Vine videos at the current moment. For example, the week that MTV aired the 2013 Video Music Awards, three of the most popular Vine hash tags were #VMA, #MTV and #miley.
When you tap on the Activity option from the main Vine menu, you can see the names of people who have begun following your Vine account (to watch the videos you publish or re-Vine).
Shooting and Publishing Vine Videos
In addition to using the options available from the Vine app’s main menu to manage your Vine account and watch other people’s Vine videos, from the main screen of the app, it’s possible to tap on the Shoot Video icon that’s displayed near the top-right corner of the app in order to shoot, edit and publish your own video(s).
The Vine app takes full advantage of the video camera(s), microphone, and speaker that’s built into your Smartphone or tablet, which is your primary tool for shooting, editing, and publishing Vine videos. The first time you tap on the Shoot Video icon, a brief tutorial is displayed which walks you through the simple video production process.
To shoot, edit, publish, and share your own Vine videos, first find something to shoot that will entertain people for six seconds. The screen of your iPhone or iPad becomes the viewfinder for the video camera. To begin filming, point the camera at your subject and hold your finger on the screen for up to six seconds and record your video.
However, to make your video more visually interesting, film for two to three seconds and release your finger from the screen. Next, find something different to shoot, or shoot your subject from a different angle or perspective, for example, and then hold your finger on the screen again to continue shooting. Repeat this step until you’ve used up your six seconds.
The latest version of the Vine app allows users to shoot stop motion videos (one frame at a time), and use the “ghost” feature. This feature allows you to view on the screen the last frame of video you shot as you begin filming a new shot, which in turn helps to create more fluid transitions.
As soon as you’ve recorded six seconds of video, the Share screen is displayed. Near the top of this screen, a thumbnail of your video appears, along with a field in which you can enter a short description of your video (using the virtual keyboard). Tap on the thumbnail to preview your video before publishing it. Within the description field, be sure to include multiple and highly descriptive keywords in the form of hash tags (i.e. #keyword). For example, if you recorded a video of a humpback whale spouting alongside your cruise ship, you could tag your video with #whale, #cruise, #alaska, #wild, and #nature.
Below the description field are two more fields: the Add A Location field and the Add To A Channel field. Adding the location where your video was shot is one more way people will be able to search for and find it later. Select which Vine Channel your newly shot video best fits into and select it to help categorize your video so people can more easily find it. For example, a video of a spouting whale would probably be assigned to Vine’s Nature channel.
Next, decide if you want to publish your newly shot video to your Vine account as well as to your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts. Tap on the virtual switches for each service. Then, tap the Done button to publish your video.
Learning to shoot Vine videos that are six seconds long, but that convey information using visuals and audio, is a bit tricky at first, but just as Twitter users have become accustomed to sharing their thoughts in 140-character tweets, Vine users are learning to tell stories, jokes, or convey a lot of information within their six second video clips.
To make your Vine videos more appealing, consider using a tripod when shooting to avoid a lot of shaking or blurriness. While you can purchase an inexpensive tripod for the iPhone or iPad, you can also prop up the device on a table or somewhere that’s stable as you’re shooting.
In the few short years since Twitter launched, it has been adopted by individuals, companies, clubs, associations, news organizations, politicians, and others as a way to interact with the masses in an informal way. Businesses continue to use Twitter as a powerful marketing and promotional tool, while kids and teens use it as a way to spread gossip and interact with friends.
Vine has yet to be adopted by mainstream businesses and organizations. However, millions of individual users have discovered this service offers a fun way to share “scenes” from their lives, as well as tell jokes and showcase other entertaining content that fits into a six second video clip. And like YouTube, wanna-be “online personalities” are starting to achieve fame as they attract tens of thousands of followers, and earn millions of Vine video views as they showcase their creativity, sense of humor, and wit. Unlike YouTube, however, Vine has yet to introduce a way for video producers to earn revenue from publishing their work and attracting and online audience.