Revolutionary Measures

Withering on the Vine?


Can’t string together 140 characters? Help is at hand with Twitter’s launch of Vine, its new video sharing service. Essentially Vine lets you take 6 second videos and post them automatically via your Twitter feed. Launched last week, it provides another option for Twitter’s 500 million users to share their lives with their followers and friends.

On the face of it Vine is a nice idea as it capitalises on the power of video and opens up another front in Twitter’s battle to increase usage ahead of its predicted future flotation. And another revenue stream – I can see Twitter using Vine to encourage brands to interact with customers by sharing video content, solving simple customer service queries with how to films and even introducing a paid for service that gives greater control over the length of clips.

But there’s a number of issues that I believe will hold back Vine’s growth. Firstly, it isn’t integrated into Twitter itself but is a separate app, currently only available for Apple devices. This adds a level of complexity to the process – there’s nothing to stop other video services providing competition. And not launching an Android app at the same time as Apple removes a significant part of the market – while Twitter says Android is on its way, it looks slack not to have both issued at once.

Secondly, each clip may be 6 seconds, but it is on a constant loop (like an overlong animated GIF) which can be pretty tedious to watch, even if the content itself is interesting. Think of it as a moving picture, not a YouTube video.

And finally there’s what’s on Vine clips. Twitter boss Dick Costolo launched the service with a film of himself making steak tartare, but given that porn drives most internet innovation, it didn’t take long for more explicit content to arrive. The initial lack of filtering meant that X-rated videos began to fill Vine, culminating in one being chosen as ‘editor’s pick’ on the home screen of the app. All rather embarrassing for Twitter, but surely something that could have been predicted if they’d thought things through. Had they not looked at ChatRoulette?

To be fair to Twitter it has now banned searches for explicit content and deleted some porn, but automatically identifying and filtering pornography is notoriously difficult so it will be kept busy moderating clips for some time to come.

So, will Vine wither or grow? At the moment the jury’s out – it doesn’t have the safeguards to encourage mass market adoption (or the reach with just an iOS app) but if Twitter prunes away the porn it may yet create a new way for consumers and brands to share engaging content.

Enhanced by Zemanta

January 30, 2013 - Posted by | Marketing, PR, Social Media | , , , , , , ,


  1. It’s great that it’s only 6 seconds, too little time nowadays and too many long videos out there. I’m also quite puzzled that is only available in Apple, and separate from Twitter. Maybe they were a bit scared of integrating that in Twitter, so they may be testing the application first outside of it, otherwise it seems like a poor move from them.

    Comment by Javier | February 6, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] stifling, it has made a big bet on video – first with Vines and now with Periscope. With Vines being extremely short (essentially 6 second loops) they at least fitted in with the stripped down nature of […]

    Pingback by Up Periscope? « Revolutionary Measures | April 1, 2015 | Reply

  3. […] it has made a big bet on video – first with Vines and now with Periscope. With Vines being extremely short (essentially 6 second loops) they at least fitted in with the stripped down nature of […]

    Pingback by Up Periscope? | ProminentSocial | April 2, 2015 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: