The next “big thing” in mobile technology could be the somewhat-new, insanely popular six-second video app called Vine.
The cutting-edge application-currently available only to iPhone users-hit smartphones at the endof January. Its creators describe Vine as a “mobile service that lets you create and share short looping videos” andalso allows individuals to “share moments in unique ways.”
Vine is certainly not the first video sharing service, but one major thing helped to propel it to its current status as the new “it” app to download: securing Twitter as its benefactor. Vine designers said that the goal for the app was complete functionality and enjoyment.
According to the Vine blog, the three main principles designers kept in mind were to strive for simplicity with faultless video editing, to constantly emphasize ways to capture life in motion and to be thoughtful about how users would interact with all of the app’s features.
Vine’s design aesthetic favors the trendy lunch sharing photo app in that there’s a main profile where the user displays his or her user name, short bio, location and number of followers. The simplest description for the widely used app is to think Instagram on steroids.
Vine videos are automatically integrated with Twitter’s site, so users have the option of simultaneously uploading. Videos will then link directly to the timeline of all the user’s followers on Twitter.
Videos can also be linked to Facebook when uploading.
Vine’s home page features looping six-second videos that automatically play as you scroll downward. No play button required, no pause, rewind or fast forward buttons allowed. If the user wishes to stop or skip the video, he or she can scroll past the post.
Directly below the posts are captions and Twitter-borrowed hashtags, making it possible for users to search the app using the explore section (similar to Instagram) or to categorize their videos.
Here’s the ingenious part: the videos allow users to compile and edit different shots into one seamless short video to upload to the homepage. Just tap the screen and hold when recording, let go at any point to stop and move to a new thing to record in the same video by tapping and holding the screen again. The trick is to create one video in the short time allowed.
It’s like one huge “who- can-make-the-most-entertaining-magical-funny-(insert cool adjective here)-video-out-there” competition.
“I like the easy to use interface and how it isn’t confusing when you first open it, but Vine is more of an app for creative people instead of the everyday user,” said 23-year-old Vine newcomer, Kofi Ellison. “Some thought process has to be put in it for any of the videos to actually be entertaining.”
Users also participate in the Vine community by liking and commenting on other users’ videos.
Another feature that helps Vine stand apart from other video-sharing apps is its partner website, Vinepeek. The site allows anyone to go online and watch real-time videos from around the world as they are uploaded.
According to SimplyMeasured analytics blog, 113,897 videos were shared during the weekend of Hurricane Sandy, the Grammy Awards and New York Fashion Week. Those numbers are outstanding for an app that’s only about two months old.
However, there are a few downsides to the Vine app.
One of the main, and slightly disturbing, early nuisances for Vine was the appearance of porn.
When downloading Vine, users are prompted to click a button assuring creators that they are at least 17 years old. However, all it takes is a yes for access to be granted, since there’s no real way to validate age via a mobile app.
Since the oh-so-very-public app didn’t take into account the amount of control users had over their accounts, hashtags like #nsfw, #sex and #boobs soon appeared. After numerous complaints, however, the ability to explore porn hashtags has been disabled-though certain adult content videos still manage to seep through the cracks.
In case the thought was floating around in a sea of Vine questions, private profiles aren’t allowed. So, users should think twice before uploading the extremely drunk or super embarrassing latest YouTube dance video.
Another drawback for the app is the amount of time it takes for a video to be removed from followers’ timelines if a user chooses to delete one of their posts. Vince creators note that, “it may take a few minutes for the post to be removed from your followers’ timelines.”
Users are allowed to delete comments, but since the account is public there’s no such thing as blocking an individual follower.
However, according to a recent NBC article on Vine privacy settings-or the lack thereof-Vine designers said that they intend to, “add more ways for you to control the visibility of your content in a future version of Vine.”
If for any reason users want to delete their account, there’s no simple screen tap to disengage from the social network. Instead, users are prompted to contact Vine support and feedback via email.
Still, Vine is proving useful for a much bigger portion of the population other than those who want to exercise their video editing skills.Major media and news companies like ABC and PBS use it to report and document stories. Companies like Urban Outfitters and Lucky Magazine use it for free advertising. Designers at New York Fashion Week even used the app to showcase their latest collections to the world in a quick shimmering glimpse.
The possibilities for Vine are endless and users are still figuring out ways to completely capitalize off the product.
Vine is compatible with the iPad, iPhone 3GS and up and the iPod touch third generation and up. It can be downloaded directly from the App Store.
See how major companies are using Vine: http://www.businessinsider.