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How Vine is Changing the Face of Online Journalism

If you haven’t heard of Vine, you need to get with the times – the six-second video app, owned by Twitter and dubbed ‘the Instagram of Video’, shot to the top of the free charts in Apple’s app store shortly after release, and it’s set to come to Android soon.

Although Vine was only released in January, it’s already made an impact in the world of citizen journalism, and it’s easy to see why – its ease of use, length constraints and accessibility make it the perfect platform for people to capture their own news, ready to share it with their friends and family on social media.

In fact, Vine users have already made a start – in February, a Turkish journalist used the app to document the aftermath of a suicide bombing outside the U.S. embassy, barely a week after the app was launched.



More recently, Vine user Doug Lorman shared a clip of the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Timeliness played a part – the video was shared thirty minutes after the explosion, and was quickly disseminated online with over 100 RTs on Twitter alone.

For many, this short clip was their first exposure to the tragedy, and it was particularly powerful because of Vine’s inherent limitations. The constant looping of the six-second tragedy, while hypnotic, is also slightly macabre and voyeuristic, but it does a lot to drive the message home.

But it’s not just hard news that suits Vine’s short format – Daft Punk used the app to announce the tracklisting on their forthcoming ‘Random Access Memories’ album. The Vine, which was released by Columbia Records, received almost 2,000 RTs and a further 1,500 shares, and is one of the runaway successes that Vine has so far experienced.



Of course, a social networking tool being touted as a game-changer for journalism is hardly new. Instagram has previously been hailed as a game changer for photojournalists, and who can forget the press that Twitter received during the London riots of 2011?

Like with all social tools, the networks themselves are impartial – the real groundswell, the huge shift in the way that we share and consume information, comes from the users, from the people who capture and disseminate information.

But having said that, Vine has captured the public’s imagination in a way that competitors like Viddy, Cinemagram and Socialcam could never manage. Why? Perhaps it’s the fact that Vine is backed by Twitter, a company that we already trust. Or maybe it’s the ease-of-use – there’s something magical about Vine’s ‘tap the screen’ mechanism. It’s too early to tell whether Vine has the sticking power of Instagram, Twitter and the like, but the early signs are good.



The big question for Vine is, “Can the trend continue?” It’s a question that nobody can honestly answer, but if the network continues to grow and our desire for information remains the same, then there’s no reason why we won’t all be sharing Vines when we’re caught in the middle of a major event.

At its simplest level, Vine is the perfect tool to replace the short and shaky YouTube videos that you often see, captured on a spectator’s smartphone. Better still, it allows you to show the scene from multiple angles and create a much more condensed, emotive and effective video that has far greater viral potential.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a rise in the number of major news outlets using amateur video footage in their reports – how long can we expect to wait before we see Vines on CNN, or the BBC, or Fox News? My guess is not very long.

Join The Conversation

  • May 28 Posted 3 years ago nadavzin

    I don't know... I find it hard to see a 6 seconds animated gif style loop being used for more than goofing around. Vine's UI and fresh take on video capture is excellent - I'l give you that!

    At Stickety we are trying to tuckles a related issue, which is leaving rich media (pictures and video) memes behind for other users to consume when they pass by. Our content feed changes dynamically as we move around with our mobiles. This way (local) delivery is tied more naturally to where the content was created and provides a context to the post.

    We're just coming out of private beta and the iPhone app is available at (an Android version is planned for later this year). Please give it a try and let us know what you think!


  • danejohncobain's picture
    May 10 Posted 4 years ago danejohncobain

    Thanks, Alex :) That's funny, I often wonder if the pace will grow faster. We're living in an interesting point in history at the moment, I can't even imagine what the world will be like in five years, nevermind at the end of my lifetime!

  • Alex Katzen's picture
    May 10 Posted 4 years ago Alex Katzen

    I'm a big fan of Vine. I think you hit the nail on the head about this trend continuing. For now, I definitely see this app doing great things. I often wonder if the quick pace we yearn to gather information will subside in the future generations. :)

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