By now you’ve all heard of Vine, the drop-dead simple video app Twitter launched a few weeks ago.
It lets you post looping videos up to six seconds long that can have multiple takes, easily, because all you do to record is hold your finger on the screen, and all you do to pause the recording is take it off. Over 110,000 Vines were posted last weekend over a 48-hour period, according to Simply Measured.
It’s innovative and game-changing and everything everybody’s said.
There’s just one problem.
What in the world do you ‘Vine’?
If you’ve used the app, you know what I mean. For every video I’ve posted, I’ve scrapped at least three, because for all my early adopter enthusiasm, I have no idea what I’m doing. I record, pause, record, pause, and the finished product is only sometimes as good as my original idea.
Stuck on what to post? Check out the five ideas in bold below …
What to post on Vine #1 – It’s hard to go wrong with PETS or BABIES. I have the latter:
I’ll Vine the traffic on I-5! Boring. I’ll stitch together scenes from my nightime routine! Weird. I’ll do a stop-motion video of my head bobbing up the bathroom mirror! What? Ew. Delete! Delete!
Vine is hardly the first platform where it’s hard to know what to do. Basically every social media tool started out that way. And Vine is helping, by featuring ideas in the form of an array of collections on the “Explore” tab of its app with titles like #favthings, #vineportraits, #loop and #howto.
But at a time when new is old, experimentation is easy, social is in our DNA and geeks race to master new media without breaking a sweat, it’s particularly odd to find ourselves opening an app and scratching our heads.
Why is Vine tougher than other things? You can’t edit a Vine, for one. You can change a word before you tweet to make it just right. But if even one shot is off on Vine, you have to scrap the whole thing and start over.
What to post on Vine #2 – Your COLLECTIONS! From @roberthuttinger:
This wouldn’t feel as frustrating if there weren’t such a gulf, comparatively, between what you want to post and what you actually record for posting. Getting even a short video right — a stream of moments — is tougher than taking a picture.
Vining people presents its own challenge. Many gestures look perfectly normal, I’ve realized, until you cut them down to six seconds and set them on a loop. Think of every .gif you’ve ever seen. If it’s not cute or funny, it’s probably awkward or creepy.
Gaffe tweets are bad enough. Gaffe Vines … oh, they’ll be painful.
Bigger than all these little things is the sense — if you’re a conscious content creator — that whatever you post on Vine should be good. Or at least, not suck. I mean, it’s a video, right?
What to post on Vine #3 – STOP-MOTION has never been easier or more fun. The Magic 6 ball from @brandin6 is already a classic:
Whatever being “good” at Vine actually means, we must think we should be getting there more quickly than we are. That would explain the apologies.
One of my Vine connections recently posted a montage of scenes from her morning. A view from a balcony. A coffee cup. “I still suck at using Vine,” she wrote in the caption. It was her sixth post.
But just because we don’t know what the hell we’re doing doesn’t mean we’re not doing it.
For proof, go to VinePeek. One of several sites that presents Vine posts in a variety of interesting ways, it’s a total trip. It loads whatever Vine was posted just then and, when it’s done, loads another one, and another one, and another one.
What to post on Vine #4 – Look! It’s MAGIC! From @Culligan27:
— Cullen (@Culligan27) February 13, 2013
If you want to multitask while you’re watching, don’t. Unlike a stream of tweets you can glance at here and there, this stream of videos — I imagine a powerful blinking being who every time he opens his eyes is in another place, another body — demands your full sensory attention.
A kid stretching. A dog drooling. Plays from a basketball game. Scenes from a nightclub, glowing red. A traffic jam with the radio blaring. Someone pouring sugar onto the foam layer of a latte.
Far better to post something — even if it’s meh — than nothing. Isn’t that one of the great lessons of social media? Whatever we post — good or bad, thoughtful or reactionary — is true, somehow. Especially when it’s all taken together.
What to post on Vine #5 – Scenes from the life. Entrepreneur and former Seattleite @daniellemorrill stitched together Vines she took over 24 hours into a day-in-the-life vid:
All this experimentation is a good sign for Vine. People aren’t shrugging their shoulders and closing the app. They’re shrugging their shoulders and filming something.
It’s a different social animal, but that makes it exciting. Finally — something that’s really, truly, new.
Whatever Vine will become, whatever creativity it will unleash, it’s being shaped right now, by people brave enough to have no idea what they’re doing — and not really care.
Mónica Guzmán is a community strategist, freelance journalist and award-winning digital life columnist for GeekWire. You can find her tweeting away at @moniguzman, subscribe to her public Facebook posts at facebook.com/moniguzman or reach her via email. See a list of her clients on her website. Also see this archive of her weekly GeekWire columns.