Vine turns one, social app provides creative opportunities

Jan 24, 2014 | Biz/Tech

Vine is home to over 40,000 users worldwide.

Vine is home to over 40 million users worldwide.

By Kelly Townsend

Today marks the first year anniversary of the social media application Vine. Since its release, the Twitter-owned app has gained over 40 million users worldwide.

The premise behind it is simple – users can create six-second videos simply by pressing their phone screen. Once posted the videos play on a continuous loop.

Despite dealing with a pornography controversy in the first week of its release, Vine steadily grew in popularity due to its ease of use.

Vine saw some competition in June with Instagram’s incorporation of video into its service, which included a 15-second timeframe, which more than doubled Vine’s.

Since then it has suffered a decline in popularity, according to social media expert Bhupesh Shah. However, Shah says Vine isn’t finished yet.

“I don’t think it’s dead,” Shah said. “I think that it will continue to grow as people see the differences between video advertising in six seconds and the creativity it takes, versus the creativity on Instagram.”

Shah, Seneca College’s social media graduate certificate program coordinator, says the creative community on Vine sets it apart from its competitors.

“On Vine you have a lot of people that are doing wild things in six seconds and that makes it incredibly impressive,” said Shah.

Vine Creates Career Success for Users

Jethro Ames, who has been using the app since it launched, has made a career from it.

“I started doing it for fun, making videos for myself after work or when the kids went to bed,” Ames said. “All of a sudden one of my videos was nominated for a Tribeca Film Festival award. It actually won and that set off my Vine career.”

Ames’ vine won in the #ANIMATE category in Tribeca’s #6SECFILMS awards in April 2013.

Ames award-winning vine took hours of work in his garage, including an hour of production and two takes, spanning an hour and a half of work.

“There’s no editing to it, there’s no uploading, so everything has to be captured in-camera,” he said.

Ames award success led to a full-time career in Vines, creating videos for different brands, a trend that is growing for some of its popular users.

“You have organizations that have more money than time and are smart about where they’re going to put their resources,” Shah said. “You don’t want your staff spending the time trying to figure out all these tools if someone has already established an expertise on it.”

“Now a lot of Viners just know what to do. The creative community on Vine has gotten a lot better since it first started,” Ames said. “Some Viners have managers … It’s a big thing, it’s kind of how YouTube started.”

“There’s a talent agency about Viners called GrapeStory. They look for brand work and they look for any Viners to work for these brands,” he said.

GrapeStory, launched in June, is the first talent agency that is specifically designed for Vine creators. Founded by social media entrepreneurs Gary and AJ Vaynerchuk and Jerome Jarre, the agency has already worked with Virgin Mobile and Aquafina.

One of the advertisements created for Aquafina

The Way Ahead for Vine

The future of Vine is still unclear, but Shah says the video app will most likely have to start looking at its financial situation.

“Vine will have to figure out how to make money,“ he said. “You’re enhancing your services, but what is your business model?”

Some predictions from Shah include sponsored content, like some of the content on Instagram, or pay-to-use enhanced content.

In terms of software enhancements, Shah says they can expand on the recent change to allow users to edit Vines and give the option to integrate Vines onto laptops or desktops before uploading.

No matter the changes, the continued draw of Vine is in its community. “It really has brought together a whole diverse range of individuals to express themselves,” Shah said.

“Unlike Instagram, which is celebrity or “selfie” driven, what you find with Vine is there’s a lot of variety in terms of who’s using the tool and why they’re using it.”

Whether it’s made us laugh, made us cringe or made us wonder, Vine has certainly made a big impression on the social media world in 2013. Here’s to another year of crazy, imaginative six-second wonders.