by Michael O'Neill
January 25th, 2013

If you think writing a message in under 140 characters can at times be challenging, try making a creative video that lasts just six seconds.

That, in a nutshell, is the premise of Vine, a Twitter-owned video app that launched yesterday. What Instagram has done for photo sharing, Vine hopes to do for video. The first Vine video was released courtesy of Twitter CEO Dick Costello, and it will only be a matter of time before your Twitter and Facebook feeds are awash with Vine videos (vines?) of cats, babies and hicupping pandas.

The app is fun and addictive, and although the six-second recording limit means it lacks both the permanence of photography and the immersion of longer-form video, the loop function (think GIFs) opens up the possibility of creative applications. And, just like Instagram, its greatest asset is its shareability. Instant uploads to your preferred social media sites (and the subsequent retweets and shares) will help videos circulate and potentially enter the viral space.

It is way too early to predict how the app could be used in a marketing capacity, or even if it will. Six seconds is not a lot of time for a brand to express itself, and there are question marks about just how viral a video of such length can be. My guess — hopefully not famous last words — is that Vine will be more useful as an illustrative tool for tweets and Facebooks posts, rather than a stand-alone communication medium.

Time will tell of course, but for now expect to see a lot videos courtesy of your friends and followers. And don’t forget to download the app (currently only available for the iPhone) and try for yourself. It’s fun, and free.

 

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