iPhone App Review: Vine

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If you use Twitter, there is a good chance a new app named Vine has been mentioned in your feed more than once over the past week. There’s a reason why it has been covered so extensively, as it’s owned by Twitter, after the social network purchased the company late last year. It’s a good fit too, as Vine is all about making sharing videos as easy as sharing pictures through Instagram. “Great”, you may be thinking, “Yet another social network”, then dismissing it out of hand. Don’t be so quick to ignore Vine, as not only is incredibly easy to use, it’s fun, different and could potentially bring out a creative side you never knew you had.

However, Vine isn’t like YouTube or Vimeo, it’s more like Instagram for GIF-style short videos. Each Vine you create is limited to just six seconds in length – just like your Tweets are limited to 140 characters – and require skill, creativity and sometimes, a degree of luck to construct. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a world-class editor to come up with a winning Vine, as the app has made the process of shooting and posting a video as easy as taking a still picture.

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You sign-in to Vine using your Twitter account, then select the video camera button in the top right of the screen. A small camera view window will appear with a progress bar above it. Instead of having to tap a specific button to record, you tap and hold anywhere on the screen, then release when you want to stop recording. The clever part is, you can then start and stop recording again until your six seconds are up, and the app stitches the short film together without any input from you.

With your Vine video ready to share, you can add a caption before uploading it to the site, when a link can be added to your Twitter or Facebook feed. Sadly, there’s no automatic sharing with Google+ at the moment, however as you’re given a public Vine web profile, you can simply copy and paste the link to your Google+ stream. A shared Vine video is played back as a loop and can be viewed in-line on Twitter, just like a TwitPic or YouTube clip.

As with any new social network, it’s important to easily find new content and people to follow. Vine uses hashtags, just like Twitter, and has a page dedicated to exploring them. It’s also easy to follow your Twitter friends who’re using Vine, but Facebook has blocked access to your friend list. This isn’t the only controversial aspect of Vine either, as the newly launched social network has had a problem with adult Vine videos and an issue with spam comments too, all in its first week on release. Additionally, many are concerned about Vine’s lack of privacy settings – there are none – as videos uploaded can be seen by everyone.

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Don’t let all this put you off though, as even in these early days, Vine is proving to be a very rewarding experience. Like Twitter, the concise nature of Vine’s videos means they require thought and creativity to craft, or craft at least. Explore the Editor’s Choice list to see what others have been coming up with already, with everything from amusing magic tricks and cool stop-motion style short films, to lightning-fast cookery lessons, constantly being shared. For a social network in its infancy, the level of creativity on display is inspiring.

Even dedicated photo sharers may find their beloved Instagram accounts falling silent, as even after a few tries with Vine, a still photo may suddenly feels somewhat restrictive after the freedom Vine can offer.

Vine is truly fascinating, and we’d urge anyone who has a love of sharing any form of media to download the app and give it a go. It’s easy to use, fun and amazingly for a six second video clip, really can boost your creativity. Vine has so far only been released as an app for the iPhone, but an Android app is in the works and should be out soon. We can’t recommend it enough.

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