Will Instagram do for social video what Vine never could?
You know, when Twitter launched Vine a couple of months ago, I think I was on the list of people that registered first. I mean hey, I do videos for a living right? It’s only the common thing that I search for even more ways to be able to interact with everyone through a social video tool. The funny thing about it though is that regardless of how fast I registered for the service, I’ve yet to build my first Vine video. As I skimmed through the service, I began noticing a ton of the caveats that made me forget about its existence just a couple of days later, and no, the unsolicited porn wasn’t the problem.
To its defense, Vine has a couple of things going for it. It’s dead easy to create a video, and you really don’t have to do any extra steps to actually watch a video. All you need to do is scroll down and Vine will play the video on its own, which is as the service should be. I guess my biggest problem with Vine is that the people who created it have still not figured out why Instagram is so popular.
I still find it funny when people approach me about why I like Instagram so much. According to them, there’s really nothing cool about filtering photos and posting them. Whoever says that clearly doesn’t understand what Instagram is. It would be like assuming that Facebook is just about posting photos, which would just make it another Flickr, right? What makes Instagram popular is that it’s a social network on its own. One of my favorite hobbies is running, and it’s funny how I’ve never met fellow runners on Facebook, but I’ve discovered a ton of them on Instagram. It’s really about sharing the things you like to do, and having others appreciate your way of portraying it.
Another thing that makes Instagram cool is that it does a great job at talking with other social networks, not just Facebook. If I want to post a photo on my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, I don’t need to do it three times, all I need is Instagram.
Going back to Vine, I guess its biggest problem is exactly that. It’s trying to create a social network that’s based on video, and that’s actually a good idea, but the problem with that approach is that ironically, a “limited video” isn’t as explicit as a photo. Funny to even point this out since photos are just one frame and in a 7-second video you’ve got 210 frames, and still, you don’t feel as limited in portraying your thoughts on a photo than you do on such a short video. But with that thought in mind, even full videos aren’t popular. Facebook has allowed you to share full videos for years now and without any limiting time, and still, how often do you see videos on your Facebook feed? People sadly don’t seem to like it much after a while, and the reason why I think that is, is because building a video and sharing it is not as easy as building a photo and sharing it, and specially if you have to deal with paranoia of keeping it in a short time frame.
So that said, now that Instagram is taking a stab on short videos, do you think they stand a chance at doing a better job than Vine? You’d think that the failure of one is the ensured failure of another, and then we see how Apple succeeded with the iPad and the iPod in ways that the companies who actually invented the markets never did. Does Instagram video stand a chance in really doing short video as it should? I’ll give you my thoughts and we’d love to hear your thoughts as well.
You don’t need to leave Instagram to build a video
I guess the biggest reason why I forgot about Vine on day two, is because it requires me to leave Twitter to use it. I’m still scratching my head over why Twitter did it this way. Before you respond with a “you have to leave Facebook to use Instagram” we go back to the explanation I gave you earlier of why Instagram has succeeded. Instagram is its own thing. I find myself using Instagram more often than Facebook now, as funny as it may sound.
So the biggest reason why I think video on Instagram will succeed is because you don’t have to leave the app to use it. You don’t have to leave the app to see the resulting videos as well. The experience seems the same until you stop on a video. Those who don’t like creating videos, don’t need to, and those who do will do so without impairing your experience. Vine by contrast needs for you to create videos, like to watch them and actually use the app in order to have a purpose for existence, and that’s all wrong. When going from a need to an added value, the user experience varies dramatically.
Instagram already exists on its own
I spent a full paragraph in the introduction telling you that there’s nothing wrong with using Vine, because there really isn’t. It works like a charm, it’s super easy to use, and the UI is also quite cool. On the other hand so is Instagram, and in contrast with Vine, Instagram doesn’t need to build anything to grow in the herds of those that already use it. Instagram has already been “a thing” for years now, so much so that people even demand that it reaches the platforms that it hasn’t expanded to. You don’t see anyone begging Vine to reach other platforms, do you?
In a way, Instagram video is an added value that is there if you want it. As I said earlier, you can say more in 450 frames on a video than on one frame for logical reasons. Photos can’t speak, and don’t really interact with the end user as well as a video can, and still, you have a choice to use it if you want or skip for what you already prefer.
The bottom line
Ever since we started our YouTube channel here in Pocketnow, I always believed that video is the future. It made tremendous difference in the experience that all of you had with our reviews when we started, and it’s turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. This is such a historical fact in our society’s history that if it weren’t true, “motion pictures” (notice the name) wouldn’t be as popular as they have been for more than a century.
I still feel that both Vine and Instagram video are crucial for social media. They probably haven’t nailed the best way to do it, but neither was MySpace as big as Facebook is right now. Every successful product requires building blocks, and both of these do a great job in satisfying a desire that I’m sure somebody had at one point. I guess what’s still missing is that these services do a better job in creating a need for them, but I feel Instagram’s approach in adding value to their current network is a far better approach than what Vine tried to do in creating a new thing. We’ll see how history plays out.
I guess the biggest question I have for you now is if any of this really matters to you? Do you use Vine? Do you use Instagram? I could give you another ten reasons why I love Instagram, and nothing will ring a bell to you if you don’t really like it at all. It would also be interesting to know why you don’t like either of these services as well, so please share your thoughts in the comments.