Why Vine will be as revolutionary as Twitter was

Ned Hepburn
The Week
For now, Vine is only available for iPhone and iPod Touch users.

These simple, six-second videos are the future of social media

Vine is essentially Instagram, but with video. It sounds simple, but the results are astounding. Think of Vine less as short videos and more as living snapshots.

Even better, Twitter's new tool is exceptionally easy to use. You hold your finger on your phone's screen to record a scene up to six seconds long. To stop recording, lift your finger. To resume recording, press the screen again.

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Whereas the tweet gave short blurts of written information to the world, and Instagram gave us pictures, Vine looks to break the video barrier by allowing anyone to shoot, edit, and share video directly from their phones. It's the sort of thing that would have been unimaginable just five years ago during the age of Motorola Razrs. And already, it's amazing what people have been able to come up with. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney has gotten in on the action, asking fans to guess a song, as have have the Brooklyn Nets, who show off with some warmup footage.

Can you name this song...? vine.co/v/bJjdTLBnwx1

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— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) January 29, 2013

Warming up, the Brooklyn way. vine.co/v/bJg1axXlLgL

— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 29, 2013

And check out Pitchforkfounder Ryan Schrieber's video of up-and-coming Danish punk band Iceage. It legitimately gives you a sense of what the show was like. You could, in all practicality, break bands this way.

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ICEAGE @ 285kent vine.co/v/b5EE2z0VzJM

— Ryan Schreiber (@ryanpitchfork) January 26, 2013

Vine might not be for everyone. But people said the same thing about Twitter when it first started, and its 140-character dispatches clearly revolutionized the way we communicate online. Vine will do the same.

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For now, what makes Vine great might also be what is hindering its initial spread into the mainstream: While the McCartneys of the world are doing really creative and compelling things, most people are using Vine in a rather simplistic fashion. Take the first video I ever made on it, for instance: Hand motions on a loop made while watching It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

My #firstpost on Vine vine.co/v/b52Vutgil0V

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— Ned Hepburn (@nedhepburn) January 26, 2013

I mean, does anybody REALLY want to see Kevin Jonas (of formerly relevant pop band The Jonas Brothers) wave at the camera a few times? How about his wife and his mom? No, of course not. These are baby steps, though. Soon celebrities and other social media big-fish will actually be using it for the forces of good.

My #firstpost on Vine. Already addicted vine.co/v/b1ZOXbeqQ6a

— kevin jonas (@kevinjonas) January 31, 2013

And if Vine can make something as unappealing as Malibu Rum seem cool, then it's obvious the platform has some real potential. Tell me this is not a great little commercial:

When good things come together. Introducing our first Vine. #myfirstvine vine.co/v/b52DvxmdKZt

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— Malibu Rum (@Malibu_Rum) January 26, 2013

Vine lets us tell the stories of our lives through video rather than a series of static pictures. And seeing what a relatively small number of very creative people have done with the app in the short time it's been out gives me a lot of hope for the future of this style of communication. To give you a sense of what I mean, check out Vine user Origiful's stunning little animation. It might give you a small glimpse of the future of social media. A hyperbolic statement? Sure. But sometimes you need a hyperbolic little app like Vine to make an impact. 

Dying for a coffee. #magic #vineart #pleaselike vine.co/v/bJwnA9qjYiH

— Ian Padgham (@origiful) January 29, 2013

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