Say it With Video

Andre Natta - Say it with VideoWhich platform works for you?

by André Natta

You may notice folks are holding their smartphones up just a little bit longer nowadays. They might be experimenting with shutter speeds on their camera app (by the way, yes, it is possible to do so), but it’s more than likely they’re attempting to capture a moment for posterity via video. Specifically, the introduction of Vine ( and Video for Instagram ( earlier this year means more options for helping people express themselves via their status update.

Vine launched in January, is owned by Twitter, and has seen a rather slow adoption rate as of late (even as new features—including the ability to share other people’s Vines —have been added). Video for Instagram (owned by Facebook) benefited from the broad appeal of the mobile app and the existence of a searchable website in addition to search capabilities via the phone. While videos recorded via Vine are basically as is, those made via Instagram allow for frames to be removed, filters to be applied to the finished piece, and image stabilization, among other things.

Both basically provide for what could be considered microvlogging. One thing I’d point out is the depth of meaning that can come from the finished products of the two platforms. I think of Vine as giving us a tease—something that can leave us longing for more or eager to tune in to see what’s going to happen next. Instagram’s 15 seconds gives you the chance to tell a story (albeit a brief one) in one, self-contained spurt.

It also helps to consider the primary audiences using the related digital platforms. A recent study by the University of Michigan looking at narcissism suggests college students are focusing on Twitter, while the audience for Facebook tends to skew older. I’m willing to bet it means more to get a message to someone you’re going to see in 15 minutes as quickly as possible (a la Twitter), while posts to Facebook may reach some you haven’t seen in person for years, leading to the need for more information upfront.

This is particularly important considering we’re about to enter an insane period in the year in Southern culture—college football season. Southeastern Conference fans among you may remember their “new” social media and ticket holder policy rollout back in 2009 (it was last updated in October 2010). After essentially planning to ban fans from using social media to share images and descriptions of the game, they walked the policy back to allow for the sharing of images and updates for personal, non-commercial use. It did appear to protect the rights of those with broadcasting rights for games. The ability to embed videos created by both services into blog posts and websites might lead to a revisiting of the policy though no mention or suggestion of such was made during this summer’s SEC Media Days. Both Vine and Video for Instagram potentially fall well within the boundaries of the following line from the ticket holder policy:

“Personal messages and updates of scores or other brief descriptions of the competition throughout the event are acceptable.”

Although this line, two sentences later, may be the rub:

“Absent the prior written permission of the Southeastern Conference, game action videos of the event may not be taken by bearer.”

Depending on how they choose to proceed, it could be a slippery slope, especially considering the extensive use of both platforms—in addition to animated GIFs—during the recent NBA and current MLB regular seasons by team-maintained digital media accounts. It’s not exactly practical to send real-time updates during games—as anyone who’s ever tried to get a consistent cell signal at Bryant-Denny or Jordan-Hare can attest, but it is still possible, meaning we could see a pretty stringent test of the enforcement of the social media policy this season; time will tell.

Whether you’re planning to film your child eating a popsicle or a winning touchdown pass for purposes of a “better than SportsCenter” highlight reel, one question bound to be bouncing around in your head is if one is better than the other. Honestly, there’s no right choice. The one most suited to your needs will be the better one for you. I’ve personally used Instagram’s video feature. It was an easy decision because I didn’t want to have to download another app and I like the longer time limit. Both apps allow for very creative applications, whether it’s showing how a meal at a restaurant is prepared or the sights and sounds associated with walking down the street or through the park. This means if they take their time with it, businesses could have some fun with digital marketing campaigns.

Maybe your 15 minutes of fame just became 15 seconds? Or 6.5 seconds? Choose wisely.

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