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What Is Vine?

Taking a Look at Twitter's Six-Second Video-Sharing App

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Vine logo

Wondering what Vine is? Chances are you may have heard about this new social network that is supposedly gaining popularity pretty quickly on mobile.

What Exactly Is Vine?

Vine is a video-sharing app. But it’s not just any video-sharing app. It’s designed in a way for you to film short, separate instances so they can be linked together for a total of six seconds. Each short video plays in a continuous loop, and are viewable directly in Twitter’s timeline or embedded into a web page.

How the Vine App Works

First of all, you need to have a compatible smartphone to download the Vine app. Vine is owned by Twitter, and the an app for iOS devices and Android devices.

The look and feel of the app is similar to Instagram, showing you a scrollable feed of all your friends’ vines on the homescreen. You also have your own profile page, which you can customize later after signing up. Vine takes most of your information from Twitter, including name, photo, bio and transfers it to your new Vine account when you sign up.

Making Your First Vine

When you’re ready to make your first vine, the app will walk you through all the steps. The idea is to film very short, separate instances for a full six-second video. As you get started with filming, the app will ask you to hold your finger down on the screen for about 1 to 2 seconds. After that, it will ask you to film two more times. Vine then puts all three of those two-second shots together to make your first vine.

You can experiment with Vine, holding and lifting your finger to film as many times as you want up to a total of six seconds. It’s kind of a neat way to show a fast timelapse video through lots of short film spurts. Looking through some of the popular vines can give you great ideas for making more vines more interesting.

Exploring and Interacting on Vine

Since it’s still quite new, Vine lacks a lot of features that other apps have, but still offers the basics to make it a mobile social network. There’s an Explore tab, which gives you a list of channel categories to check out. You can browse through the “Editor’s Picks” and the “Popular Now” section to help you quickly find some of the best vines, or you can tap any of the channel icons below to look for specific vines.

The Activity tab shows who follows you, who comments on your vines, and who presses the smiley face “like” button on any of them. Every vine has an option for you to like and leave comments, almost identical to Instagram.

Is It Worth Using?

There are a million other social networks out there. Not all are worth your time. There are, unfortunately, quite a few downsides to using Vine. Vine can’t access your Facebook friends, so it can’t automatically connect you to those in your Facebook network who are already on Vine.

There’s also no way to take video from your camera roll and upload it at a later time to Vine. Vine webpages don’t have an social sharing buttons, and there’s no way to share directly to other popular social networks -- like Tumblr.

The features and functionality that it lacks will probably be worked into the app sometime in the future, and we’ll update this article when that happens. If you’re on Twitter, Vine is a really neat tool to use, because Vine’s Twitter card integration make it look like an animated image or GIF right in your Twitter stream.

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