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App Friday: Vine for iOS

Vine iconIf you’ve opened your iPhone’s App Store app today, you might have noticed a green app panel in the featured section listed under ‘Editor’s Choice’. That app is Vine and it’s causing quite a stir in the social networking scene, but why?

First off, the app is actually a product of social info giant Twitter and it’s looking to bring the company’s micro-blogging style to the world of video. Now, the concept itself isn’t new, with apps like Viddy already accommodating thousands of users, but its ties to Twitter seem to have grabbed people’s attention and the network of Vine users is already growing at a steady pace.

Naturally being a product of Twitter you can sign up for the service with either an existing Twitter account or with an email address and once you’ve created a username it’s onto creating your first Vine. Just as tweets are limited to 140 characters, video clips are limited to just six seconds. Despite the inherent issues with this restrictive recording length it’s lead to some creative uses of video and animation that a glance at Vine’s ‘Explore’ feed will easily demonstrate.

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To record a Vine, the user simply taps the camera’s viewfinder on the screen to record and removes it to stop recording. As that six seconds of video length is eaten up, a green progress bar fills above the viewfinder. The start-stop nature of Vine’s video recording function means that users can simply jump cut to the next key scene in their video, although if they wish they could simply record one long (relatively speaking) six second clip too. Vine footage appears slightly compressed but does include sound, not something always relevant in the style of cinematography the app facilitates, but handy to have the option of nonetheless.

Once the user has finished their Vine, they can add a description with hashtags and feature other users by adding an @ before a username just as they would with Twitter. The final element is to publish the video, which the user can choose to do solely amongst Vine users, or to Twitter as well (there is a share to Facebook option, however Facebook have currently blocked Vine videos). Shared and embedded Vine videos appear with sound off by default, but there’s a toggle option in the native player.

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Aside from creating video, Vine also grants the user the ability to explore content based on popularity or by searching users and hashtags, there’s also an activity tracker and profile tab which shows the user’s actions, friends and more.

For the most part, Vine is an unusual concept that seems to have drawn a lot of attention to itself, without making its purpose wholly clear. People may not yet know how best operate within the confines of the new service, but it feels as if it could result in some create ways to advertise, entertain and inform. Pick it up for your iPhone from the App Store now.



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