Vine app: Twitter’s first standalone product
In October of last year, Twitter acquired Vine, a smartphone app that users can create videos with, which when edited, becomes a six second animated gif that loops and is embedded in a tweet, sticking with the brevity of the 140 character limit of Twitter.
The Vine app is Twitter’s first standalone product, much like Facebook has Facebook Messenger and Facebook Poke, and is a hybrid of photo sharing and video sharing, with an advantage over animated gifs – sound. This could be the sweet spot that bloggers and social media users have been looking for, because while it hits that space in between photo and video, it does auto-play, but the sound is automatically muted and can be turned on, which we believe to be the perfect approach.
Examples of the Vine app in the real world:
— Rukes (@rukes) January 27, 2013
My new favorite mug. vine.co/v/bJqg3YYjT7W
— Reed Murray (@reedmurray) January 27, 2013
— Brady Smith (@texeyes) January 27, 2013
— Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) January 24, 2013
“They’re quirky,” says Vine Co-Founder Don Hofmann
Don Hofmann, Co-Founder and General Manager of Vine said on the company’s blog, “Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special. We’re also happy to share the news that Vine has been acquired by Twitter. Our companies share similar values and goals; like Twitter, we want to make it easier for people to come together to share and discover what’s happening in the world.”
“We also believe constraint inspires creativity, whether it’s through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video,” Hoffman added. “Although we’ve joined Twitter, you don’t need a Twitter account to use Vine (but signing up is a little quicker if you do!). We are thrilled to be part of Twitter, and look forward to the opportunities we can pursue together in the future.”
Vine app: off to a bad start, what happened?
Vine officially launched on Thursday for iPhone and iPod Touch users, which instantly alienated half of their potential users, and although the company says they are quickly working on the Android app, critics say they launched prematurely having only one of the apps completed.
That’s technology these days though, and a common complaint. That’s not all that went down, though, as users began seeing posts in their name from the Vine app and it was uncovered that there was a tech glitch allowing users to sign into accounts that weren’t theirs. Instantly, many people got a bad taste in their mouth and said they would opt out, but the glitch has been repaired, and the company was proactive in their public relations push, and rather than blaming users, they simply said it was a problem, they’d fix it, and they did.
Additionally, one of the standard methods of connecting with other users within any new social network is the “find friends” feature which allows you to see which of your Twitter or Facebook friends are already on the network. But Facebook blocked the Vine app from that data, so only Twitter friends are searchable. Some openly mocked Facebook for not sharing their data, but the company has openly blocked competition, and it should be noted that Twitter has recently done the same by blocking Instagram (owned by Facebook), highlighting a growing chasm between the two competitors.
The Vine app will definitely lead to some embarrassment for users who have any temporary lapse in judgment, and we predict a few celebrities will have some shameful moments. We noticed that while a user can delete a tweet, or even a Vine video, the tweets with the Vine videos in them can be grabbed by Storify, which essentially memorializes the moment, as deleted content is not necessarily deleted by Storify.
Lastly, as with any internet site, tool, or app, the porn showed up, turning many users off, and while it is no surprise, it is of concern. Samantha Murphy at Mashable reports, “Videos saved via the Vine app with hashtags such as #porn, #sex and #penis revealed even more graphic videos, many of which had a warning that the following content contained sensitive content. Twitter and Vine have not yet responded to a request for comment.”
Analysis: Vine app proves Web 2.0 movement was a farce
While the primary concerns have been resolved with the Vine app’s rocky launch, it is an interesting moment in social media history, highlighting not only the increasingly heated competition between Facebook and Twitter, but revealing that the Web 2.0 movement was a farce, a practical joke.
Five years ago, the mentality of the general web was that of mashups – everyone should openly collaborate, all services should share their data, and the world online should be completely transparent. The tech world acted like a hippie co-op with open doors, but they’ve grown up and realized that’s no way to do business – Coke doesn’t share their recipes with Pepsi. Now, and companies like Facebook which are publicly traded, are having to do business like big boys and protect their incomes, but boy, all of that “transparency” companies were talked into sure helped some companies to get big while others withered – therein lies the practical joke.
This moment in time, this butting of heads between Twitter and Facebook is one of the final nails in the Web 2.0 coffin, an ending of an era where startups sang kumbaya together, even while they competed against each other. The two biggest social networks (Facebook and Twitter) are now innovating as an ad play, not for the excitement of thrilling users and growing their legions of loyal fans, and they’re here to do business.
Will some criticize? Of course, these companies are making money on the backs of content generated by users, but that’s never been a secret, so maybe it’s time to focus on the next era which is a world filled with billions of disparate data points that businesses are trying to figure out how to piece together and make sense of as a means of making money.