Instagram released the ability to share videos on June 20th in the wake of Vine. There’s a lot of mixed feelings with this launch, but let’s first break down the features before we get out of focus.
Vine, owned by Twitter, launched early 2013 as a specialized app that gives users the ability to record and share 6 second micro-videos.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, originally a photo sharing app, released the ability to share 15 second (not so micro in comparison) videos.
The interface looks very similar. With Vine you must press the screen to record, and Instagram has one big button for recording. Press to record and release to pause recording. Vine has a solid completion bar at top, while Instagram has a bar below the recorded image. Instagram’s completion bar is not solid, and instead shows the length of the individual clips you record. These very distinct UI differences become more prominent when discussing functionality.
Once you complete 2.5-3 seconds of a Vine video, you can continue to post your video without recording the full 6 seconds. Instagram also has a minimum length of about 4 seconds. After you record your Vine, you must click “next” which then takes you to preview that Vine. You either have the option to post it, or go back and start over with recording. Instagram’s functionality on the other hand allows you to review the video you’ve recorded, but then go back to continue recording – assuming you haven’t used the full 15 seconds. From there you also have the option of deleting the most recent scene in your Instagram video. You can delete all the way back to the beginning of you like. However, you cannot delete intermediate scene, just the last available scene. You can preview your Instagram video, and return as many times as you’d like to get the scene just the way you want! last available scene. Vine allows no editing of your videos. Instagram also offers 14 filters your videos in the final publishing phase.
Both networks use hashtags to tie in content themes and discoverable content. Having posted a few videos already, the hashtags “video” and “instavid” seem to be explored quite a bit by other users. Vine’s sound is turned off as a default, but all videos autoplay. Instagram has a setting to turn off autoplay, but unless your phone is muted, sound will be on! Most interestingly, Instagram’s videos stop after they play, whereas Vines continue to loop. The loop feature is an attribute that creates a very unique type of video, as users keep in mind what the bookends of their videos look like and may fit together. It will be interesting to see how Instagram’s abandonment of looping will affect the video content.
A major concern in my mind is that Instagram’s huge popularity was based on its simplicity. It did one thing and one things only, pictures. As a specialized app the network grew rapidly and the user experience was seamless. When Vine launched as a specialized app for video it followed a similar path and it also grew rapidly. It is simple and straight forward. Recently Vine links on Twitter surpassed Instagram links and continue to rise, which implies that Vine is a more active network – as it should be, we as humans have a natural tendency to explore new apps heavily in the first couple months. Despite video being a fairly complex piece of content to create as it requires forethought and arguably more creativity and time, Vine has still thrived – with a little help from Twitter blocking Instagram picture previews on the network.
Instagram, whether it was planning for video before Vine or not, now has to deal with the level of complexity that video production brings with it. Users who are not be on Instagram may be attracted to it now that it has video and pictures in one place, but current users may be discourage as their simple app has its first bell and whistle. Secondly, 15 seconds is actually a very long time! Although you don’t need to record the full available time, there is a certain feeling of underachievement when you don’t use all of the allotted time.
What do you think of Instagram videos? Is 15 seconds too long? Do you fear it will detract from the Instagram experience? Like your looping videos better?