In the past few years, Twitter’s stance towards third-party applications hasn’t exactly been open.
In fact, Twitter has been publicly preparing third-party developers for the restrictions that their new API was going to enact ever since last June. We feared that Twitter might actually end up killing its healthy third-party app development entirely. And while it’s true that we’ve seen Twitter tighten their relationship with developers quite a bit, we’ve also watched as they’ve actually gone out and bought up one Twitter development studio after another. In 2010 it was Tweetie, in 2011 it was TweetDeck, and in 2012 it was Posterous—this year it’s Vine.
But Vine isn’t only Twitter’s most recent purchase, it’s also one of the most exciting developments in Twitter extensions since Instagram. As an iOS app that lets you tweet a looping 6-second video, Vine might seem like something of a fad. After all, there are plenty of apps out there sporting similar features, as well as interesting ideas that never seemed to get passed the hype (we’re looking at you Cinemagram). Its viability as the next big social platform lies in the app’s simplicity and innovative ease of use.
In Vine, taking snippets of video is as easy as pressing anywhere the screen. As you record, the meter that measures your available six seconds of fame will begin to fill. Let go and it will stop. That’s it. But because the snippets are so easily spliced together, Vine really does feel like something of a new Internet media form. The concise nature of a six second video feels perfect for Twitter and Instagram addicts, as well as all the meme and gif lovers out there. All those videos you’ve taken of your cat finally have an outlet for the world to see.
The simplicity of the filming and editing lets users focus on the very well-implemented social features. Flipping down your Vine feed feels eerily familiar to Instagram, but it’s hard to see that as a bad thing. Vine uses your basic info from Twitter, but features its own, full-fledged social media network. You can do all the expected social media behaviors such as following, liking, and commenting on other Vines, but this app’s slick UI really make it stand out. Even crowd-favorites like Instagram and TweetBot feel a little outdated in comparison.
The app gets a couple minuses for a handful of bugs and crash scenarios, but the true test of a brand new network and media tool like Vine lies in the hands of its users. Are people actually using it to make interesting new content? So far we’ve seen everything from French New Wave-style jump-cuts to stop motion storytelling—and it’s only been public for a few days. Add in a healthy amount of inevitable funny cat videos and you’ve got yourself the birth of a thriving new social media network that just might be dominating your Twitter feed in the near future.