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The Vine Has Become a 6-Second Story

The Vine Has Become a 6-Second Story

The old 60s song, I Heard It Through the Grapevine has never been more apt as the Vine app takes centre stage.

This 6 second video (loop) is doing to film and images what Twitter did to the written word (in just 140 characters). It’s also setting tight boundaries which enable more creative work.

Pundits are saying that while it was Andy Warhol who claimed that everybody would be famous for 15 minutes in a lifetime, the digital world decrees that that is down to 6 seconds.

Glowing Praise from the Media

In an article in The Observer (3 November 2013) Dominic Rushe wrote: ‘Six seconds doesn’t seem like a long time but Vine, the white-hot video app, has made it an eternity.’

Vine now boasts over 40 million registered users ‘uploading short videos featuring everything from waves crashing and comedy sketches to Harry Styles brushing his teeth that all loop back on themselves, again and again and again – six seconds stretched to infinity’. And it was only started a year ago.

Now part of Twitter (price not disclosed), Rushe argued that Facebook has paid it ‘the ultimate compliment’ by adding ‘a similar service to its Instagram pictures’. Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann was a video-obsessed youngster who saw a gap where people with smartphones ‘weren’t really using them at all.’

Telling the Stories

Nowadays almost everything is about a story. Advertisers use the jargon constantly; companies pay money to get their story (message, usp, gimmick) out into the world. Well, Hofmann and partners Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov realised that people wouldn’t tell their story through video because it was hard to do, not always easy to create and circulate.

What they came up with was the 6-second shoot, having experimented with one second. The abrupt ending, even with six seconds, didn’t feel right, and so the perpetual or infinity loop was born. Once it was technically seamless the videos had ‘new depth’ and they were in business and the natural desire of people to share made it a natural additional to social media app catalogues.

Sites like Vpeeker post new vines as they arrive, and Rushe listed ‘A sneezing puppy is followed by a man in a wheelchair shouting: “Death to all tyrants.” A girl squeezing what looks like saline solution up her nose is followed by people bowling, a woman licking a pizza, a man dressed as a panda pushing over a trolley in a supermarket, someone waving a big red flag under a waterfall. Vine offers a mesmerisingly odd global snapshot, a planet at play six seconds at a time.’

New Boundaries

Rushe listed ways in which Vine is moving forward as content gets increasingly professional.

  • a visual haiku
  • launching careers
  • comedy sketches
  • stop-motion animators
  • movie makers
  • horror vehicles
  • Vine competitions (there was one at Tribeca film festival this year)
  • actor-comedian/writer collaboration

Co-founder of the Tribeca Robert De Niro has said that ‘you can tell a whole story in six seconds.’ It is already mainstream, establishment. And now the Advertisers are getting in on the game both in the entire concept of the 6-second loop but also in terms of tailoring their ads to a few seconds of story.

That is inevitable but it is still a remarkable success story for a simple concept in this ‘attention-deficient’ media-savvy generation and that’s why they are lapping it up.

As Hofmann is reported as saying, whether all these stories are worth sharing is another matter. Another story in fact.

The Vine app details

Image: OregonDOT