When I first saw the announcement on Facebook, I could scarcely believe it: Instagram Video?!
I knew of Vine, the original micro-video sharing site, from the Twitter feeds of Darren Criss and Ashley Clements, to name a few. In fact, I have a Vine account, though when I watch what other users have cooked up, I feel at a loss as to how to match their level of “cool” with what I might post. Unlike Instagram’s terrestrial #ootd and #foodporn tags, which feature the daily detritus of life (specifically what we’re wearing and what we’re eating), Vine’s appeal is the sheer weirdness of the videos, the crazy creativity of those split-second clips featuring everything from unique spinning selfies to reenactments of “The Lion King” in grocery stores, and everything in between. I spend more time watching and marveling at Vine posts than I do actually making them–as far as I was concerned, only celebrities, hipsters, and the super-cool could make micro-vlogging worthwhile.
For Instagram, a very much “everyman” application, to be making that leap felt like overkill: tacking a niche feature onto an inherently mainstream product. And, after all, Vine already had a considerable following. What could Instagram possibly do to compete?
Deciding I couldn’t knock it until I tried it, I updated the app on my iPhone and decided to give the new feature a whirl. After trying it, I have to admit…I was pleasantly surprised.
The biggest issue I had with Vine’s video-making interface was that, while they allowed in-app editing via the “touch screen to record” feature, essentially you still only had one take: if you made a mistake in one of your cuts, you had to take the whole video over again. Instagram Video, on the other hand, while using the same the “touch to record” editing model, adds the capacity to “backspace” and retake the cuts as desired before posting, without having to start all over again. Also, Instagram Video features the capacity to switch between back and front camera in between takes, which means that one to create, in essence, a personal vlog complete with the prerequisite “talking head” moments. Add some cool new filters–Insta’s trademark–and you have a powerful creative social networking tool.
But Instagram’s latest innovation goes way beyond just making personal social networking more interesting–it also has considerable potential for use in branding and marketing. Creative mini-commercials, real-time corporate updates, motion editorials, or even vlogs (tapping into the trend of influence marketing via bloggers) are just some of the ways brands can use Insta’s latest addition to connect with their consumers via social media. The inherent quirkiness of the software means it’s a great attention-grabber, and even if the idea itself isn’t original, the additional features and flexibility of mode (photo or video? You decide.) on Instagram’s part mean that it may very well end up dominating Vine as a “one stop shop” for both kinds of micro-storytelling.
I’m obviously not one to predict whether Instagram Video will live up to its potential or prove just another fad. For now, though, in my inexpert opinion, I definitely see promise in it. It’s cool, easy to use, had great features, and with Insta’s established brand name packs a considerable punch in terms of reach potential. Also, it’s a whole lot of fun to use, even for a clueless amateur like me. Instagram Video may never reach the astronomical popularity of its photo counterpart, but it’s definitely got a considerable appeal. At the very least, I think it’ll make connecting and telling stories online a little more interesting.
P.S. You can check out my micro-vlog attempts at instagram.com/nc_1993. Feel free to laugh at my half-baked attempt being an “influence marketer” for my favorite Starbucks branch! 😝