Vine

Social networks have seen many changes and new innovations as technology continues to develop. Vine is a relatively new application in the world of social networking. Purchased by Twitter in January of 2013, Vine was released initially only for iOS, limiting it to users of Apple devices. On June 3, 2013 Vine finally released their application for Android.

However, for quite a while, Vine was underdeveloped and had many improvements to make. In October, the newest update to the application sought to address some of the biggest concerns of Vine users, and to improve the interface of the social network. Upon release of these upgrades, the iOS director at Vine stated, “Vine was built for one purpose: to make it easy for people to capture life in motion and share it with the world. That is the reason we built the Vine camera, and it’s why we continue to improve upon and build new tools for your creations, nurturing the balance between power and simplicity that you’ve come to expect from us. We think these features offer new ways for people to express themselves and their creativity”.

Vine allows users to post a 6 second video-clip representing whatever they can capture on camera. Simply by touching anywhere on the screen, within the section of the application that allows you to add video and holding down, one can record from either the front or back facing cameras on a mobile device. Users have the ability to stop recording, move the camera, and begin recording again in order to create a different piece of the 6-second clip.

One of the recent updates to Vine allows users to edit their Vines, or even to close out of a Vine while it is still in creation, and save it as a draft to be completed later. Vine calls these features Sessions and Time Travel. Vine creators can also select if they would like the Vine they are posting to appear on a channel targeted toward a specific topic. Vine has 16 channels, including ones for cats, food, fitness, comedy, and sports. Once the user has completed creating their Vine they simply hit the green check mark, and it will appear on the timeline of all those who follow their profile.

Vine allows users, much like Twitter, to follow an individual without the requirement that they are followed back by the same individual. Anyone that an individual follows will appear on his or her Vine feed, which automatically loads and plays the Vine that appears on the screen. Vine also allows users to like, comment on, or “re-vine” something that they found interesting. This allows users to give feedback on the posts of other people on the network, and share those posts with their own followers. Not only that, but one is able to connect their Vine to both Facebook and Twitter, linking their posts to any or all three social networks within your profile settings.

Not only can you link your social network sites, but you can make your profile private, requiring people to request permission to view the Vines that you post. You can also trigger your Vines, marking them if the content could be sensitive material. Vine allows the user control over what is most easily seen, and what the user wants to keep more private.

Ultimately, as the iOS director of Vine stated, Vine’s goal is to allow users to be creative, and to make it as easy as possible to share with others the world that they are experiencing through short video clips. It is a developing way for individuals to express themselves to others through video, creating a form of social networking in which the daily lives of people can be viewed through something other than a still image or text on a web-page.

Vine creates an interesting and somewhat objective discussion and formulation of opinion regarding its value as a social network for interpersonal relationships. Though Vine technically meets the requirements to qualify as a social network, its value for interpersonal relationships is different from that of Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. On one hand, by definition, Vine functions quite successfully as a social network as it allows one to construct a public profile, articulate a list of users with whom one shares a connection, and view and traverse this list of connections.

Vine, as any social network, allows users to express themselves to other people through a specific medium. In this case it is through video. However, one of the more powerful and common ways that Vine has functioned thus far for interpersonal relationships is through the communication that comes through the sharing of other peoples Vines with each other. One of the most popular and commonly used features of Vine has been its “re-vine” feature, allowing users to share with each other people’s Vines, other than their own, which they found interesting, funny, or worth watching in general. This re-vine feature has been an important feature in the maintenance of interpersonal relationships, allowing people to share a connection through similar interests and experiences on Vine.

Vine functions for interpersonal relationships in that it allows users to present an image of their life or themselves through video quickly, and easily. It is such a simple social network to use, and allows users to present more visual information than they are able to over most other social networks. It also functions to do so in an entertaining and unique way that gives Vine a competitive edge over other networks that rely simply on text and still images.

Vine also has impacted interpersonal communication in a different way through the use of advertising. Companies have quickly begun to use Vine to communicate messages about their brand through these short clips. They have also begun to work with people who are “vine famous” to promote these brands, creating more traffic for their brand through the weak link that is the Vine famous user. Interestingly enough, Vine has created and ability for weak links to function as advertisement. When Vine famous users create a Vine for a brand and then re-vine it to their own profile, it gets shared with all of their followers. This can create more brand awareness and higher traffic for people affected by the advertisement.

Vine, however, does not seem to be a social network conducive to the formation of interpersonal relationships. More than anything, Vine seems to be a way for individuals to share with each other interesting, short videos that they find of value for their entertainment. The personal expression that occurs on Vine also seems to be targeted toward a similar objective. This pertains, in large part, to a few theories. Firstly, the idea behind the theory of Uses and Gratifications can be witnessed within Vine based on the idea that people choose which media to use based on a specific idea or desire that they wish to gratify by using said media or social network.  There is a distinct kind of information that seems to get conveyed through Vine that is very different from the information one might share on Facebook. This suggests validity to the uses and gratifications theory, showing that Vine may have a different gratification to fulfill than other social networks.

This raises an interesting question when it comes to the media richness theory and Vine’s relationship to interpersonal relationships. When looking at Vine it can be difficult to place it on the spectrum of richness. In one aspect, Vine is media rich as it gives us multiple nonverbal cues through the avenue of video, language variety in the ability to create a caption for the video, a personal focus when original videos are posted, and feedback that is available through the number of likes and re-vines a post gets, as well as through the comments left by viewers. However, on the other hand, the time limit of 6 seconds allows these things in a very limited context. The nonverbal cues are not as dynamic as they would be given more time, and the personal focus is shallower than it would be if posts could be longer.

Vine could make some changes technologically in order to enhance its use as a social network. Firstly, in its current condition, Vine exists only as an application to be used on mobile devices. While this may serve some purpose, in general, it creates limitations on the application and its value for interpersonal communication. As it is the Vine website does not allow one to view Vines or the profiles of people who hold Vine accounts. If Vine were to expand itself and add to its features an online site it would open the door for more communication between individuals, allow for more diverse interaction, and promote the use of the social network to a broader audience. This could create more links – through both weak ties and strong ties – between users.

One interesting thing about Vine is that every other social network has also jumped on Vine, sharing Vine videos on their own network. YouTube has many posts dedicated solely to demonstrating the most popular Vines throughout certain time periods in the year. If Vine created their own website they could do things like this for themselves, thus generating more traffic as a social network. This might encourage more people to engage in communication on their social network, which might enhance the interpersonal communication within Vine itself.

Another feature Vine could add is a way to send a direct message to a follower, or someone who you follow, on Vine. Though one is able to comment on a video, there is no way to send a private message to an individual. If Vine added this function to their application it could encourage more communication between individuals, and could possibly strengthen the way in which people maintain relationships through their social network, allowing them to form a closer bond through an alternate, less public form of communication that they may desire, but have no way to engage in. Creating this feature might allow the media to be more rich as it would allow for more feedback and options for language variety.

Users can also begin using Vine differently in order to enhance its use for interpersonal relationships. As of right now, when most people scroll through their feed on Vine, the majority of posts that they can see are re-vines of popular videos that the people they follow have found and chosen to post again on their own account. There seems to be a limited amount of original vine material in comparison to the amount of “re-vining” that occurs. This places a huge limit on the power of the social network for interpersonal relationships. Though it demonstrates to followers the Viner’s possible interests and personality traits of the individual who posts these things, re-vines lack the personal quality that an original Vine pertaining specially to the individual’s life might have. If users start to focus on placing more original videos onto Vine the personal focus of Vine may see an increase, and the richness of the media could also be improved.

Overall, as a new social network, Vine has already made a huge impact. As it continues to develop, more adjustments will be made to enhance the interface of Vine and improve its function for interpersonal relationships. For now, it leaves us asking interesting questions about one of the newest additions to social networking that has already begun to revolutionize interpersonal communication through social networking.

Works Cited

Bennett, S. (2013, October 25). Huge update from twitter: you can now edit vine videos aon the fly. Retrieved from http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/vine-time-travel-sessions_b50929

Dalenberg, A. (2013). Vine sprouts new features including a cat channel and ‘ghosts’. Upstart Business Journal, Retrieved from http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/media/2013/07/05/vine-gets-upgraded-with-channels-ghosts.html

Kuittenen, T. (2013, May 30). Vine is taking over america Retrieved from http://bgr.com/2013/05/30/vine-app-growth-analysis-iphone/

Parer, J. (2013, October 29). Vine for ios review: Now with tools to improve your shooting . Retrieved from http://reviews.cnet.com/software/vine-ios/4505-3513_7-35583998.html

Sheats , B. (2013, October 23). Back to the future. Retrieved from http://blog.vine.co/

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