A few months ago, I told you my thoughts about Vine, Twitter’s video microblogging application. While I was entertained by its function and content, I remained a bit confused about its place in the world. I didn’t understand a Twitter product that recorded videos and launched as a separate application.
And then I made an observation that I’m laughing at now. “Vine pushes content out just like Instagram,” I wrote. “I can’t help but think that the two need to work on some sort of partnership.” After all, it made more sense for a photo-sharing app like Instagram to offer video functions.
Just a couple of months after that, Instagram was purchased by Facebook. I doubted that Facebook and Twitter would work on merging their newly acquired children. Instagram and Vine pushed out similar content. Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular social media sites. I wondered if the developers at Instagram had any special plans.
Turns out, they did: On June 20, Instagram announced their new video service. Their stop-motion capable 15-second videos span over twice as long as a full-length Vine post, and they included new video filters as well. With Instagram’s 130 million users—over ten times the amount of users on Vine—I am seriously wondering if it’s even worth drawing a comparison between the two applications.
It makes more sense to record and share video on Instagram, but let’s level the playing field by defending Vine. I mentioned Twitter and Vine user Mitch Goldstein in my first post about Vine. He supported the limitations of six-second videos and the creativity it required to work within those boundaries.
6 seconds + no edits + looping + no filters = good, not bad. It’s not so much that less is more, it’s that more can be a lot less.
— mitch goldstein (@mgoldst) June 21, 2013
That’s something I hadn’t previously thought of. Longer videos leave more room for content—and more room for crap. Mitch also tweeted:
The sad truth is that 15 seconds is likely outside of most users short attention span.
— mitch goldstein (@mgoldst) June 20, 2013
Eh. I’m not sure about most users, but my attention span can withstand a fifteen second video. Still, that’s a point I considered while writing this piece.
But I’m still siding with Instagram, because it just makes more sense. Video sharing meshes much better with photo sharing than it does microblogging, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom was quoted in a June 2013 Fast Company article: “We think about photos like, ‘This is your tweet, this is your status update.’”
So if photos are to Instagram as tweets are to Twitter… and videos are, at their most basic level, moving images with sound… then, yes, video makes more sense on Instagram than it does Vine.
Let me share a few posts that will serve as good and bad examples on each app. I checked out a few of my favorite brands on Instagram and Vine, but couldn’t find videos on both services. Still, these samples will showcase the differences between the two applications.
Cool, but jumpy and irritating at the same time. I’d rather see each badge for a few seconds, which would be possible on Instagram. Here’s another video I’d rather see on Instagram:
Love Urban Decay cosmetics. Don’t love a pseudo makeup tutorial on Vine that doesn’t spare a second for words. I would rather see this as a video at length that at least pauses to explain something.
But then there’s this: Proof that Vine’s six-second videos are worthy. Mad TV alum Will Sasso is a true artist.
Will later posted a (not so) similar video on Instagram:
Yes, yes, YES. This is exactly what I want to point out. Fifteen seconds does not make for the best content in every scenario. And guess what? I’m going to critique AND offer a solution! Instead of using the full fifteen seconds of time on an Instagram video, here’s a thought: vary the length of your videos. Users taking control of their “production methods”—what a concept!
It’s true that the limitations of a six-second video can provide for more interesting content. A friend of mine once expressed that he enjoyed working “inside the box,” because it is challenging in its own way. And it isn’t the responsibility of app developers to create their users’ content. The users need to do that on their own.
I’ve explained why I think Instagram is the better outlet for video sharing, but I wanted to make sure that I pointed out the positives of Vine. Whether you choose to use one app or both, just push out good content. As with all social media, users follow content because they enjoy it. That’s all that matters.