By now, most of you have heard of the epic battle between Instagram video and Vine. Vine, owned by Twitter, is an app that launched this January that allows users to take six second videos. Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, also launched its own video feature just a week ago. The day Instagram video launched, Vine shares on Twitter dropped by 40% — however, it might not be fair to write off Vine as obsolete just yet.
Several articles dramatize Instagram video as the end of Vine. However, it is important to note that Vine, having created a culture of its own, already has a significantly strong user base, particularly among teenagers and young adults. Besides, instead of everyone just using Facebook, several applications, like Pinterest, Vine, Instagram and Tumblr, gained popularity due to serving specialized features — and some users may want to keep videos and images separate. No doubt, Instagram video will have an impact on Vine’s usage and future growth. But Vine has the potential to rise above its competition and differentiate itself.
Not only does Vine have a strong user base, but also Vine has created a culture of its own. In about four months of launching, Vine already had 13 million users, many of whom will continue to use the app. By encouraging users to create short and funny looping videos, Vine developed its own casual and quirky culture, appealing to youngsters. As tthe Atlantic said, “Instagram has video now, but not a video-making culture … Vine already has a community and maybe even a genre.” In fact, once Instagram video launched, Vine supporters exhibited their loyalty by making “#TeamVine” trend on Twitter.
Although Instagram can leverage a larger audience base, not all of its users appreciate Instagram video. Some find video to be intrusive to Instagram,cluttering its otherwise simple interface. Originally, users started posting pictures on Instagram over Facebook, in part, to escape the “noise” on the internet — and Instagram may no longer be a safe haven to escape this noise. While there maybe some advantage in having one platform that combines image and video, teens and young adults increasingly migrate away from Facebook and use a variety of apps that serve more specific purposes — statuses on Twitter, photos on Instagram, pin boards on Pinterest, etc. Thus, some users might prefer using Instagram and Vine for different purposes.
Another argument in favor of Vine is that Vine altogether it is very different from Instagram video, and so, depending on their preferences, people will use one over the other. Sure, both platforms allow users to create and share videos. However the videos themselves serve different purposes. Instagram’s mission is “to capture and share the world’s moments.” Users can set different filters to their videos, allowing them to completely change the settings and emotions of the videos. Videos are longer- 15 seconds, with no looping, which allows for compiling more serious, well thought and artsy content. Vine, on the other hand has a very simple interface where users create weird and funny 6-second videos that loop. Not that this is not artsy in its own way, however, it supports a more casual audience.
Only time can tell whether Instagram will make Vine obsolete. Some of its features that Vine does not have, such as the ability to edit videos, do make Instagram video very appealing. At the very least, Instagram’s large user base will encourage millions to at least test the video feature out. However, for now, Vine is here to stay, and at the end of the day, the competition they provide for each other is beneficial for innovation, culture and the end consumer.