“I am shielded in my armour,
hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island.”
That is the final track of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence. But contrary to their sentiments we have proved today that no man is an island. Social networking has taken over our lives with Facebook and Twitter. More and more people are voicing their opinion on various topics through this micro-blogging network by ‘tweeting’ messages of up to 140 characters. No one thought that anything meaningful could be written with just 140 characters and yet it became widely popular.
A few weeks ago Twitter introduced Vine, where members can put up a six-second video clip on a loop. But what can we do with a six-second video clip, you may well ask.
Twitter created an information network through which you can share your latest stories, ideas, views and news. Now you can make it more interesting by adding a short video through Vine. Twitter acquired Vine in December 2012 and released the app’s first version last month. It has already become one of the most popular apps for the iPhone.
Vine is a free mobile app compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch, (third, fourth and fifth generations) and iPad. It requires iOS 5.0 or later and is optimised for iPhone 5. It can be downloaded from the App Store. It is not yet available on Android or other platforms but it is in the works. You can create an account by using your Facebook or Twitter account or an email address. If you hook up via Twitter it will link you up with people who also use Vine. You can see their posts and they can see yours.
Creating a video is easy. Point the phone’s camera and touch the screen. As long as the finger remains in contact, the video camera rolls. It stops the moment you lift your finger from the screen. Continue until you have shot for six seconds. Vine saves the video, and gives you the option to attach a text message. You can route your micro-movie to Twitter, Facebook, or Vine’s own network. And you’re done.
Marketing gets a boost with Vine and Twitter has launched it to shore up its revenue. Brands can complement their advertisements by giving snippets via Vine. It has an advantage over other video platforms in that it easily adds geo-location tags to posts. So local restaurants and entrepreneurs can solicit customers in their area through these videos. They may even ask their customers to make videos of themselves using the facilities or products.
Short videos on how a particular product can be used can be made to educate the public. If you are a teacher, you could give your students video snippets of information. You could turn a boring history lesson into a video with the names of Mughal emperors. Or you can give a short summary of your lesson on any other subject. Considering the fact that there are over 500 million Twitter users, the Vine may become very popular soon.
Do you feel strongly about something? You could mobilise support for your cause through these videos to try and make the world a better place. You will not have to tag people like you do on Facebook pictures. You friends and followers will see it in their feed. Journalists can use Vine very effectively, too. We know pictures speak louder than words. Videos shout.
Psychiatrists say Vine has the potential to turn us into incorrigible cheats in our relationships by sending private videos. But that is best left to apps like Snapchat that is spreading like wildfire. Snapchat allows users to send pictures or videos of themselves to one another, but with one clever feature. You control for how long your friends can view your naughty message. It disappears from your device without a trace after that.
As with any new technology the possibility of misuse is immense. As soon as Vine was released, some users uploaded pornographic video clips on the service. After the hue and cry over this, Apple was forced to raise the minimum age limit to 17 years to download the application. So my advice would be to keep this app away from children.
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