I confess, there are plenty of things that make Twitter's six second video service, Vine seem to be utterly dismissible.
But that just may be its paradoxical strength, after all...
Vine is the shallow end of a bigger movement
There are three big changes (call them macrotrends if you like) that Vine and other services are driving.
Good online experiences contain fewer words and richer content
Christopher Baily, Chief Creative Officer for Burberry, says his fashion line is more a content and media company than a design firm. He is describing how content increasingly creates the context for consumer experiences.
Take a look at your favorite brand’s brilliant work; how much of their sterling digital experience is written?
As experiences are increasingly driven by richer media, each year the number of words becomes fewer. The digital world is due for a recalibration from writing to more immersive experiences.
Why tweet about a fashion show, when you can show the show?
Or better still, put them on an amusement park ride in this year’s fashion.
Or if you’re Calvin Klein, show the model Matthew Terry from your Super Bowl ad working out in his Calvin’s and nothing else.
These don’t create dramatic new value, but they are objects of interest that extend these brands more dynamically on Twitter, and in posts like this which reference them.
Over the last 100 years media has progressively added images, sound, motion and interaction, always to the expense of the written word.
Yet, the page you're on right now is mostly text. Same with Twitter. Vine is an early step to rebalance the plethora of written words on the Web with richer experiences.
Video lives on a spectrum: Vine sets-up the casual, temporal end.
When I shift to video mode there’s a tendency to default to gather teams to produce video that is more cinematic (Schindler's List) than cinema verity (Blair Witch). That bias creates few but beautiful campaigns such has The Hartford’s Achieve Without Limits program.
But when I talk with groups of millennials, great production values tend to set off their digitally tuned marketing detectors. Seeing something “real” means immediacy which should be free of editing and staging that refactors the situation.
This trend isn’t limited to Twitter or six second snippets. Check out start-up Vsnap for personally emailed video messages. Instead of a six second loop, you get sixty seconds to send a personal message to one person.
The impact of an email with a casual video message turns out to be many times greater than the text only messages we're used to.
If Vine gets your team thinking in terms of fast, casual video clips shot by staff who are more like witnesses than film directors, that’s a very positive step. It creates a team more ready to grab and go with video - with or without words to supplement.
This is easy to try out, and everyone is near equally awkward. Yes, Google Hangouts, and Vimeo, Vsnap and YouTube strengthen the same skills. But I suggest there’s a lot to be said for starting in the shallow waters offered by Vine.
Finally, Vine increases the voyeuristic effect of social media
Let’s face it, part of the fun of social media is you get little glimpses of other people’s lives. And most glimpses confirm that in this medium everyone is starting together as awkward novices.
Felicia Day is letting fans in on her creative process (have a little dance party to reward yourself).
Punk burlesque rocker Amanda Palmer is scheming up ideas for Vine.
And Two Broke Girls actress, Kat Dennings blows steam at a fish.
Try Vine, because it’s an allergy test
It is a low stakes way to put an easy video tools in lots of hands, and to make video a daily part of the content we produce.
Of course, much of what gets made will be utterly forgettable. But that’s not the point.
Its a test, one that can help build skills and culture to support taking up a range of video tools in the long run. And for now, some tweets and posts might work better with just a few easy to make Vine video loops. Having tried Vine without incident, you may be better off to drive more ambitous high stakes innovation.