Twitter’s micro-video making service Vine is a lot of fun.
If you’re unfamiliar with Vine, here’s how it works: You hold your finger on your screen to record video. When you lift your finger, the recording stops. You get six seconds of recording to play with.
It’s a quick, easy, creative way to do video making. It’s probably the biggest idea in making videos since YouTube. People have been trying to figure out how to make social videos for a long time, and the people at Vine have seemingly cracked it.
There’s just one problem I have with Vine — It’s yet another social network, and I really don’t need any more social networks in my life.
Actually, I have a second problem with Vine — It’s not easy to do Vine. It’s a new medium, and like any new medium, people are still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. So, some videos are great, some are literally videos of a friend walking down the street.
This second problem feeds into the first.
My primary social network is Twitter. I like getting links to news stories, commentary on live events, and random opinions.
My secondary social network is Instagram. I see what friends are up to, as well as a healthy mix of other cool phones.
My third social network is Facebook.
And now, if I were to have a fourth social network, it would be Vine.
But who has the time? And in Vine’s case, who has the patience? People are just figuring out Vine and the pay off for great videos isn’t enough yet to make me want to consistently check it out.
My solution to this problem (and I use problem in the absolute loosest sense of the word): Instagram needs to shamelessly rip off Vine’s features.
When I first started using Vine I thought it was going to massively huge and successful. So far, that (not terribly bold) prediction looks good. It’s the third most downloaded app in the U.S. App Store, and it’s been a top 40 app pretty much since it was released.
The first days using Vine made Instagram seem static and boring. In the Harry Potter movies, the newspapers’ photos are alive with motion. Vine felt like that. The images were alive with just enough motion to make them more interesting.
Going back to Instagram, I kept wishing the images moved. What I really wanted though, and still want to this day, is for some of the Instagram images to move, just like in Vine. It would be a good way to break up flow of the feed, and give people an opportunity to add just a little more than a photo.
Because Instagram is already visual, adding Vine-like video makes sense. On Twitter, which is more text-based, Vine doesn’t fit as well.
Copying Vine might seem pathetic. But who cares?
Big tech companies say they want innovation. This is sometimes true. Just as often, however, they want photocopying. Just look at Facebook’s “Poke” app. It’s very similar to Snapchat. (It’s pretty much the same thing, really.)
When Instagram starts to stick advertisements in your feed, having a 6-second video option would be nice for advertisers. And, if advertisers are smart about it, it could be OK for users. (TV ads, which are videos, can be really great. Hopefully, advertisers can do really creative work in a Vine-like format.)
Instagram needs to swallow its pride and just add Vine-like video. It’s good for users, and it’s good for Instagram.