storytelling technique, web storytelling — January 27, 2013 at 1:53 am

Vine is Impressive


I’ve just gotten into Vine, Twitter’s new 6-sec video sharing app, and I like it.

This is not the first time there’s been video on Twitter. Video-sharing services like like 12seconds appeared
as far back as 2008. But few ever really caught on broadly and many of them are no longer on the scene.

Earlier video attempts felt lonely

I remember there was a certain pathos to those early Twitter videos in which people, alone in front of their computers, would sadly reach out to the rest of us.

The poignant loneliness of the scene was best captured in The Tragedy of Twitter, the 2009 video essay
by eccentric cultural critic, Carlos Mandelbaum:

But Vine—at first blush at least—feels different.

Vine feels social

For one, Vine is for the iPhone. (No news yet on an Android version.)

So the images we see are those of people, activities and objects out in the world, not the lonely portraits
of someone sitting at a desk in their bedroom.

To support this outward-facing approach, Vine only allows you to use the iPhone’s outward-facing camera.
This too discourages the claustrophobic self-centerdness of the earlier video models.Vine takes video storytelling out in the world

Vine’s technology also lets you create a number of scenes in your movie, allowing for real storytelling, however brief.

And there’s something about the 6-sec format that just feels right.

Already I’ve come across a number of Vine videos which are using this new medium artfully, and some of them have even moved me emotionally.

Vine videos are best enjoyed in aggregate

But the best way to enjoy Vine is by watching the videos in aggregate. presents a feed of the latest uploaded Vine videos (Should we call them Vineos?) Although each one in itself may not be of particular interest, when you watch them together there is something wonderfully engaging, if not touching, about the overall experience.

You get this sense of the world—of the human experience—of all the people out there doing the simple, prosaic things in their lives: making dinner, playing with their kids, walking down the street.

And when you add it all up, it’s powerful, a kind of ambient art which I can imagine becoming a regular backdrop
to our lives.

Certainly it’s hard to tell where any of this will lead, but I’m excited by Vine and I look forward to what we all create with it.


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