Vine: It’s Growing On Me

I had my doubts about Vine when I first heard of it. I’ll say right off the bat that I have what I would vinecall social media anxiety, and therefore I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter or Facebook.  But my concerns with Vine were more aesthetic (and many are elaborated upon in this MediaPost article by Steve Smith). How could you capture the serendipity of six-second moment if you had to plan when to hold the record button? You’d better have an extremely well-trained cat or super talkative baby for the kind of gems that go viral on YouTube. In a way it’s like taking a photo—those often require some luck—except it’s one that drags on for six seconds. The worst of both worlds, it seemed.

On the bright side, I saw great potential for time lapses and interesting loops. But you’d better get the end to sync up nicely with the beginning because your viewers are going to see—and hear—it over and over. It can quickly become grating.

To truly speak with authority, though, I decided I’d need to make a Vine video (Vineo?) myself; playing puppetmaster to a Cookie Monster doll doesn’t count. I learned a lot making my Snowman Vine.

First, the mini-shoot gave me a much greater appreciation for the work that happens here at tpt, from pre-production (what’s this video going to look like?) to shooting (did the snowman just shift to the left a little?) to editing (his hat came apart—but now I have to live with it). Producing something even mildly pleasant to watch isn’t easy! And the platform itself needs some work to be more user-friendly and share-able. You may have noticed that this video isn’t actually playing from the Vine site because I didn’t share it via Twitter when I first made it, and therefore I don’t have a link to it.

But the most surprising thing I learned? It was actually fun. I would do it again, and not just as a work experiment. There’s something magical about creating something—especially when strangers “like” it!

The thing with new technologies and new media is that people can rarely foresee when they are first conceived or released is how they will eventually come to be used. I doubt, for instance, that Thomas Edison predicted that his light bulbs would one day bake tiny chocolate cakes in tiny pink ovens. When you think about it, it’s exciting that we get to watch things unfold—if you can sit through a lot of boring six-second sequences.