I'm not going to lie, I've been a huge fan of Vine since its launch earlier this year. It's a great platform for short bursts of film giving the filmographer and subsequently the viewer a whole new medium to play with.
When it first launched, I lorded it for the way it had stepped beyond still images of Instagram and Hipstamstic. This was a new way for consumers and digital marketers alike to show more of what they see while allowing the upping of the creativity stakes. Stop frame 6 second epics, complete product 360's, 6 second reviews all became possible.
Vine offered something YouTube hadn't, the video equivalent of 140 characters. The platform was designed by Twitter (in not so many words), for Twitter. It's core strengths being summed up as brevity, sharability and access to an already flourish social audience, Twitter - at the time of writing, the 4th largest social network with 555 million registered users.
Yesterday, Instagram changed Vine's world. The 130 million user strong social network, famed for its square pictures, retro filters and easy sharing over Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of other platforms announced its first foray into video. This is a game changer for Vine.
Making the announcement at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom promise Instagram video to be "everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves".
"Some moments, however, need more than a static image to come to life."
Undoubtedly spurred on by Vine's success, Instagram has released the ability to film short videos in much the same way as Twitters new baby. As you might expect of the now veteran photo sharing network you can add a touch of vintage-cum-retro class at the tap of a button. An iterative step that some might have argued was on Vine's road map.
The main differences between the two are slight:
So what are the differences between the two? Not a great deal really.
- Instagram allows the user to filter their work taking that shaky handheld home video from amateur to artist. They have created 13 new filters for use with the video.
- Vine is much more raw, it feels as it is - virtually still a beta with bug fixes and updates coming out every other week.
- Instagram is longer, you have ever so slightly longer (15 seconds instead of 6) to tell your story.
- Instagram's videos don't loop - one of the nicest elements of Vine.
- Instagram lets you pick a frame to make the cover image. This means no more awkward contorted face shots.
- Instagram's interface is more intuitive for the first time user. It's clear how the app functions. Vine, comparatively speaking is more confusing when you first fire it up. Tapping and holding the video playback screen is an alien gesture on touch screens. Instagram offers you a clear button. I have to admit, I now prefer Vine's layout having used it since launch. It give you more of a hit space to play with.
- Vine's video is better shared over Twitter. The videos make use of the new(ish) Twitter cards. They show as playable media from with in a users tweet stream. Basing it on Instagram's current image integration, their video will probably (for the time being at least) only appear as links.
- The Facebook owned Instagram has far better integration with Facebook.
- Instagram has a much larger market share. It's been around for a lot longer with a current reported user base of 130 million with 40 million photos added daily - undoubtedly with a disproportionately large amount of #instafood and #instapet shots...
- Instagram historically plays well with others. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare are all on the photo sharing list when you take a photo (interestingly Flickr drops out of this list when using the video setting). Vine however is limited to Facebook and Twitter.
- Both had a pornography problem. Instagram cleared theirs up pretty well. Vine blocked a few hashtags and suggested some content might be inappropriate.
- Instagram changed its terms of service to essentially state that it could sell your photos to advertisers without your permission, lost a whole bunch of users and then changed it back. However, the tarnish was already there on their once squeaky clean image. My guess however is that it was probably more of the tech-savvy early adopters that fled the scene under the umbrella of privacy concerns - good news for apps like Path.
- Instagram video has launched for both iOS and Android simultaneously. Vine originally only entered the iOS market and has since adopted Android.
I think the battle between Vine and Instagram, if it is to become that, will be won or lost on factors outside of the platforms themselves. Instagram has gone well past it's early adopter phase and is most likely flirting with the laggards. Facebook, now Instagram's landlord (bought for $1bn in April last year) is well integrated with Instagram. Vine is the new kid on the block but is still fairly below the radar for the average consumer, however, it's big brother Twitter is arguably one of the pillars of the social media world, and it's integration is far better.
If Vine becomes a key cog in Twitter's overall strategy, and it very well might given the ever apparent intention to monetise where ever possible, this could spell rocky times ahead in the relationship between Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and Vine.
I think this new addition to multimedia side of the social family is likely to spell a decline in Vines popularity in its current guise. Having two players in the field can often make for interesting outcomes though.
How do you think the story is going to end for Instagram and Vine?