Video can tell stories. It can engage. Vine is an application that allows iphone users to record six seconds of video and post to Twitter. With instagram you get a similar service but 15 seconds and smartphone users can use it too. It's the VHS v Betamax of mobile video. But here are two very contrasting views.
by Dan Slee
There's a great line somewhere about inventing a solution to a problem that never was a problem.
That, ladies and gentlemen is Vine. A solution to the six-second video headache that never was a headache.
If you don't know what it is it's an app that iphone people can use that produces six seconds of video on a loop. There's another one that's 15-seconds for Instagram too. I'm offended by that too. But it's the six seconds of Vine that really sticks a sharp stick up my nose.
Both are solutions to things that are not problems. Not only that, they're pointless hipster solutions to things that are not even hipster problems. At 3am the people who have ever worked on this must wake up and know deep, deep down, really deep down, that their life has not contributed by one micro-degree to the collective knowledge of humanity.
One wag on Twitter suggested I record a Vine to describe my absolute loathing for the platform. That's just it. I can't. It takes more than six seconds. But if pressed can I offer the observation: "There's already a video platform, dude. It's called YouTube."
First things first. I do rate video. I also rate the need to record content. Luckily, every smartphone has a really good video camera attached. It can also upload to YouTube. Or Vimeo. Or another service. If you fancy recording more or less than six seconds you can. Isn't that just the most amazing thing ever? You dreammaker!
I also know that shorter is often better on the web. Six seconds is just like 140 characters on Twitter, runs the argument. It's a taster. But the thing is that Twitter can sign post with a shortened link to a far longer thing. What does Vine do? It repeats itself. Over. And over.
I'm thinking about the good video content I've seen recently. That TED Talk of Tim Berners Lee talking about Open Data. Mark Stein scoring for Stoke City against Manchester United in 1993. My children sending a get well message to their poorly uncle from a few years ago. On Vine, Tim wouldn't even had got onto stage, the players would have got out of the tunnel and my children wouldn't have started messing about let alone have stopped.
I've sat through dozens of Vines. Not one of them has been worth a second viewing. Not one could not have done better with more - or less - footage.
Stop. It. Now. If you need video do it properly. Which could be less or more than six seconds.
Thank you for listening.
More than six second films I've enjoyed of late: Man on a crane, Amy Kaherl talking about Detroit Soup at TEDxRedding, Fleet Foxes live in Paris and Internalcomms TV by Rachel Miller.
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.