I’ve seen the term “Twitter for video” used to describe lots of apps before—Tout and Vlix in particular. But now there really is a Twitter for video app, Vine, released late last week. It’s from Twitter, and it lets iOS users create, share and view looped video clips lasting up to six seconds. (Twitter said in a blog post that other platforms will be supported in the future.)
As social video apps go, Vine is fairly straightforward to use. To create a video, click the camera icon. Keeping your finger on the video frame and taking it off starts and stops the recording. (You can only record in portrait mode.)
When you’re finished, add a caption and location and share the video to Vine, Twitter or Facebook. And you’re done. The app also lets you view six-second video loops by others using hashtags to discover clips by subject matter or browse the “Editor’s Pick” videos.
But you can’t go all Instagrammy by adding filters to your videos. There are no music tracks to add. You can’t edit your video, or even preview it, before you post. You can workaround this by letting the app access your Camera Roll, then view your video there before sharing. I also didn’t see a way to delete a video once it’s been posted.
Twitter doesn’t seem interested in polished video, however. The idea is for users to tap into their creativity by capturing extremely brief and raw video clips for social sharing.
Did someone say “raw”? Vine is making headlines because an adult video was chosen as an Editor’s Pick. Twitter quickly removed the video and said the Editor’s Pick was caused by “human error.” But a word of warning: There are lots of #porn videos in Vine, leading some bloggers to call it the new “microporn” service. The app is rated 12+, meaning you should be over 12 to use it. One reason stated on Vine’s iTunes page was “Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity,” but what I saw was hardcore.
Last week upon its release, Vine also gained unwanted attention for a privacy slip up. Some users discovered that when they attempted to use the service, they found they were logged in as someone else, which allowed them to see private contact info. Twitter blamed a bug, which the company quickly squashed.
All that said, is Vine worth adding to your iPhone or iPod touch? (The app isn’t iPad-optimized.) I’d say yes, because creating videos for Vine can stir your imagination. The novelty of watching six-second videos, however, quickly wore off for me.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.