Lowdown: Vine

Nick Hirst

Usually in this column we wait a while before emerging platforms or technologies are worth covering. Not so with Vine, which, though just a week old as I write, has kicked off a wave of experimentation and comment.

Vine is functionally simple. It's an app and a social network. The app allows users to shoot six seconds of video, either in one go or in short bursts which the app then knits together. Clips, or 'Vines', can be shared within Vine's own network and, of course, to Twitter and Facebook. If you want to get a good feel for what's appearing, head to an aggregator like vinepeek.com and watch new Vines appear in real time: expect to see kids playing, food being assembled and eaten, and disarming, low-fi, stop-motion animation.

This would be just another start-up in the pack, were it not for the fact that Twitter bought it in October 2012 and promoted its launch. This has delivered high-profile early adoption with high reach. Tyra Banks (8 million followers) and Paul McCartney (1 million) have both posted Vine videos; and news organisations such as MSNBC and German newspaper Rhein Zeitung has used it too. Vine hasn't released any figures itself, but social measurement site Topsy has recorded 232,000 Twitter links to the vine.co domain nine days after launch.