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Yesterday Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo tweeted a six second video clip of himself making steak to his 1M+ followers.

This is a big deal to many because it was using the tech behind Vine, a video sharing startup acquired by Twitter.

It should be a big deal to content marketers everywhere because it's a glimpse into the future. 

Doing content marketing well means not only organizing and controlling tone/message, but also getting it seen by others. As I've already posted here, journalists are at the top of the food chain when it comes to generating a reaction to a piece of content online because of the nature of their work in breaking news and trends.

Video pitching journalists has already been lauded by many as a great alternative to a press release, but in our information rich age, getting a journalist to sit through a two minute YouTube clip can be equally as challenging as getting them to the end of a 300-word email pitch.

Here is how Twitter's Vine enters into the equation: 

1. It encourages everyone to be back on Twitter

Development of media services into Twitter's platform will encourage the Tweetdeck and Hootsuite diehards to get out from behind those columns and start using Twitter's own iOS/Android app and website.

This is obviously a win for Twitter and the reason it goes on acqusition binges in the first place, but looking beyond this, it also gives stable media playback you can count on to everyone on those channels.

A lot of journalists use filters to drowned noise out of their feed, which may impact your ability to get in front of them with a relevant message, so consider this a win for content marketers.

2) A new viable alternative to Instagram

Instagram as recently become the publication channel of choice for all the cool kids on the block.

The problem for many B2B content marketers, or other content marketers in general who may not have visually-appealing messaging, lies in the format.

A six second video however, which is basically a GIF, opens up a new short story telling ability embeddable into a single tweet. I'd advise content marketers on Instagram to pay attention.

3) The GIF pitch allows your personality to come through

Look at this post by David Pogue at The New York Times, where the writer is outlining his favorite PR pitches from 2011 and you can see it's not about the messaging behind the press release (it was a two minute video pitch that won out), but the personality and methods used to get his attention.

The GIF pitch will allow for new creative ways for content marketers to insert their own personality and creativity in between the message and the journalist they are trying to pitch. Here, everyone wins.

FYI, the technology behind Vine is in no way new. Our social media manager Matt Owen has several picks for apps that can create a similar cinematic feel out of photos. They include:

1: Kinotopic:

It's easy to see why Kinotopic is one of the more popular photo animation apps out there.


It's very simple to use and it offers filters that are extremely similar to Instagrams. Simply take a short video on your phone and choose a start and end frame. Kinotopic then allows you to 'paint' on the area you want to remain anaimated.

I'd recommend using a stylus for fine work as those of us with fat fingers will struggle to get detailed movements, but with a little care and patience you can create some fantastic results. 

2: iCineGraph:

Similar in layout and function, but relies on an image box, so this is slightly less accurate than Kinotopic. That said it does offer quick processing and is very easy to use.

An ideal option if, for example, you had a moving bilboard ad that you wanted to share across social channels. Just snap, crop, animate and post:



Cinemagram were one of the earlier apps to offer animated photo options but it's still a high-quality choice. Filter options include xpro and vintage options so images will slot in seamlessly alongside your current Instagram collection. 

4: Flixel:

Flixel bills itself as 'Inspired by cinemagraphs', and the results it offers are certainly impressive. There's an active community submitting images on the website, and these largely do away with grungy filters to focus on eye-popping colours that will really make your images stand out.

This wouldn't be the internet if I didn't include at least one cat pic here, so here's a very fluffy example:  


5: Photoshop

Good old Photoshop will let you create short animated movies with a bit of know-how. Basically here you'd be importing a video clip, duplicating and reversing the frames, and then adding a duotone layer.

It's beyond my photoshop skills currently (Although they are limited to cropping my own head into celebrity pictures, Forrect Gump-style, so don't let that put you off), but any experienced user should be able to create these for you, and the results will have higher resolution so great for sharing on your website, or social platforms with a larger available screen size. 

You can find a step-by-step tutorial over on Net Magazine. 

If you are a content marketer and you are also excited about Vine for reasons I forgot to cover here, let me know in the comments!

Ryan Sommer

Published 24 January, 2013 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

91 more posts from this author

Comments (12)

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Joe Armstrong

"Development of media services into Twitter's platform will encourage the Tweetdeck and Hootsuite diehards to get out from behind those columns and start using Twitter's own iOS/Android app and website."

Unless Twitter plans to offer all the cross-platform features of these apps, this changes nothing (as far as Hootsuite/Tweetdeck users are concerned).

over 4 years ago


John Schubert

iCinegraph now has a paint feature to select the moving parts of the image. It's in the new version that has been out for about two months.

over 4 years ago


Rachna Ranjan

As an alternate to Instagram, Twitter's vine has to go long way as facebook has blocked this Vine app from being able to find your Facebook friends on the service.

over 4 years ago


Milla Halttu

Is there any similar apps for Android? These were all for iPhone, except Photoshop of course.

over 4 years ago



This is quite a development for Twitter, we can see that they holding a firm grip on short and snappy communication.

over 4 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi Milla - sorry about that, my fault as I'm an iPhone user!

Yes there are quite a few on Android as well - have a look at:

Gifinator: http://bit.ly/WkdLbt or

GifBoom: http://gifboom.com/

I believe Loopcam and Cinemagram also have Android versions available :)

over 4 years ago

Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer, Freelance Consultant

Hi Rachna, yes some interesting developments:



Disagree that Twitter has a long way to go though. Instagram is a one-way push platform where journos and influencers love to share pictures of their food/pets throughout the day. Again, it works in PR-context when cool brands like film/entertainment choose to use it hyper-local or targeted around one initiative.

Twitter has long since overtaken Facebook as a place where conversations actually exist between journos/influencers and their followers.

In this sense, Twitter is already light years ahead.

For my day to day (PR-ing out reports) I don't touch Facebook. It's a dead channel with too much ad noise now, even though I am connected to the same amount of journos there as on Twitter.

over 4 years ago


Vasu Subramanian

Hi Ryan, have posted a few comments on your Twitter TL. But, in essence, I am less positive on Vine changing the dynamics of digital marketing. Yes, if the images/videos per se offer the ability to interact with end users, the marketing potential can get realized (nay unleashed). Else, it is an inordinate challenge to the creativity of the marketeers. As someone who proposes digital marketing solution to the clients and someone who has familiarity with the challenges of getting customer mind-share, I am not sure of the promise that Vine holds in its current form. May be I will be proven royally wrong. Will wait & watch :-)

over 4 years ago


Gail Walker,

Just downloaded Vine & had a play. I think it's a great idea but will initially be used mostly by people for creating fun clips. The challenge is making it a clever and relevant channel for businesses beyond PR use but it definitely has its place, for certain brands, even if it's just teaser clips for arousing interest as part of a bigger media campaign.

over 4 years ago



Completely disagree with the headline of this article. It will change nothing about content marketing other than adding one more toy for people to play with.
Oh, and it will be filled full of rubbish.

over 4 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi Gareth - out of interest, why do you think it will be filled with Rubbish? Twitter isn't, and a lot of Instagram stuff is very good, (as is Pinterest) - Do you really think this will be markedly different?

over 4 years ago

Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer, Freelance Consultant

Setting up a piece of content that had personality and lended itself back to the subject matter of another post/content piece (that of #CMAD -- see http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/61975-q-a-jeremiah-owyang-on-community-manager-appreciation-day -- the link to Vine in the last graph) today was one of the easiest and most engaging things I've done around our reports in a while.

But if you want to call finger paintings of Matt rubbish...we can't really disagree with you too much there!

over 4 years ago

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