It’s been a week since the app Vine debuted for Android phones, and the mobile micro-video social media app is already growing faster than any other social media platform. The six-second lopped video sharing app is now the number one most downloaded on Google Play, and is currently getting more links on Twitter than the photo sharing app Instagram. Given the compelling contrast between these two apps, speculation on how people share their persona and experiences will change drastically.
Vine is basically Twitter for homemade video loops. The same people who created Twitter acquired Vine and debuted it early this year. This form of media is really quite a concise one, with a six second maximum time constraint, and allots the user very little control. Viners can cut within a video by touching the screen to start recording and letting go to stop and cut, and that is about all users can do to modify a vine. Viners cannot upload videos anywhere besides the in-app recording module, they cannot add decals to their profile, and they definitely cannot add any computer generated texts or effects into the video.
In addition to leveling the playing field, these limitations make it so only certain genres of Vines read cogently. The most common vines, besides the incomprehensible dross (shot of a dog, shot a family member, shot of the television, repeat) are comedic efforts. It seems every oddball star on Twitter has graduated to Vine, with hilarious, if bizarre results.
Really, anybody who is tickled by GIFs can enjoy a vine, because they are almost the same thing.
Instagram, however, is all about control, and bringing out the Artiste in every smart phone user who has ever been served a plate of food. Filters, cropping, graphics editing, emojis, and every other kind of external, photo editing dot the Instagram-scape like so many moody looking Polaroids.
In effect, the only things Insta and Vine have in common are their feed’s structure, hashtags, and ultimately, their simplicity. The juxtaposition of the two apps’ tones is so sharp that it provokes one to contemplate the very core elements of what social media brings out in people. Instragram, Tumblr, Facebook, Foursquare, and dozen of other apps seem intent on bringing a taste making element to one’s internet persona and the experiences a person might share with the world. Manifest in this tenant of social media is the tendency to put on airs.
Vine, too, tempts its users to pretend, but the ultimate goal of most viners is to make people laugh and smile, rather than arouse jealousy. A good vine is a performance. With its ever increasing popularity, Shakespeare’s thought that all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women being merely players will become more true than ever. Soon, we will all be shouting into our phones in a public place in broad daylight. Woo-hoo!
Follow me on Vine for more: Samstein (with the Bear Jew logo)