Watched it on the grapevine

This morning I read an article by Stephen Waddington about Vine, the new short video app from Twitter, and was inspired to try it for myself. Every other tweet today has mentioned the word Vine and as I’m a big fan of ‘learning by doing,’ I decided to give it a go.

It’s currently available for iPhone and iPod touch and Twitter says it is working on releasing it on other platforms. I downloaded the free app and with the help of some retro weather magnets (for non-UK readers, the man in the film is BBC weather presenter legend Michael Fish), gave it a go. Thanks to @drewb for tweeting how to embed films into blogs. If you can’t see the link below, you can watch it here.


I also experimented with filming the Engage for Success blog talk radio show I tuned into earlier, which you can see here, and my Monday reading material.

So what did I learn and is there a use for corporate communication?
It’s easy to use. Ridiculously easy. You sign up using your email, Twitter or Facebook account.

Once you’re set up, hold down the video camera button. You have six seconds, so could record a continuous shot, or let go every few seconds to change the scene. I let go three times in my comms blog Vine – is there a word for them yet? Vine Vids? Vines? Grapes? Vinelets? Vineos? – so I have four segments of footage in my six seconds.

You can let go, so you can set the scene (as I needed to as I didn’t have all the scrabble letters I needed to film in one go, so had to do some rearranging between shots, and was able to put my iPhone down to do so).

Once you’ve created your film, you can decide whether to delete it or share to Vine/Twitter/Facebook.

That’s it.

In terms of use for comms, you need to be smart with your messaging as you have such a short window to get your point across. Think of it like a poster. Bear with me. Ok yes it’s a moving one. In my experience, I think the maximum view time of a poster is eight seconds. This is just enough to have three pieces of info for the reader to absorb. Vine is six seconds, so you need to ensure you linger long enough on each of the messages if it is written as I can see it has the potential to make the viewer dizzy and unable to remember the info you’re sharing. 

I think it would work well for crisis communication, particularly as it is on a loop. If for example you have a message for your employees, ideally a call to action, you could record a six second message. Examples include informing them a site is closed/open in bad weather or information about an emergency information phone line in a disaster (embedded on your intranet homepage for example or your company’s extranet/website).

Lessons I’ve learnt
With all these things in mind, the lessons I’ve learnt from my experiments today, which are exactly that and there’s definitely room for improvement, are: get organised in advance, define your messaging and have fun.

Get organised before you start filming. You do have the ability to rearrange the scene if you need to, but you may find your background noise hinders. For example, when I filmed the Engage for Success video earlier, I was still listening to the show.

This meant when I watched it back I realised the sound was confusing as it had grabbed three different audio segments of the show and didn’t flow. So I filmed again after pausing the show to enable the background noise to be the same throughout.

Internal Comms pros could use Vine to encourage employees to share their stories. For example, many companies feature articles like ‘where has the employee magazine been taken on holiday’- could you use this opportunity to encourage employees to upload their Vineos – this definitely needs a word! – to your intranet or on digital signage/employee TV.

I think the opportunities are endless and have surprised myself with how much I like it. I think it’s the ease of use. Time will tell if I stick with it, but I’m impressed. 

Do I need it?
Do you have to use it? No, of course not. I don’t use (whisper it…) Instagram. Pre-Twitter adding filters to their photos, I liked the idea of it but didn’t sign up. It wasn’t something I felt the need to learn, so I didn’t. Since Twitter has added filters to its photos, I’m less likely to.

There will always be new tools around and if you only take one thing away from this article, I’d urge you to realise that Vine is just the shiniest kid on the block at the moment and you don’t need to get involved. As with all other tools, it’s there if you’d like to try it, but if you think your comms channels are doing their job, then that’s all well and good.

Have you used Vine? I tweeted that I was writing this article and have created a Storify of the responses I received. I was tweeted this example by Practical Action about their upcoming bike ride. I was also tweeted a link by Paul Sutton called ‘Why I despise Vine‘ which is worth highlighting as I realise not everyone will be keen on it – he described it as ‘superfluous noise and hype.’

Criticism has also been drawn in the tech communities as you shoot the footage holding the phone vertically, although the finished product shows it as a square – see the Mashable article on this topic.  

Further reading
There is a website called Vinepeek, which is impossible to just look at quickly – it is a real-time display of what is being uploaded to Vine across the globe and is a fascinating window on the world. You have been warned! (Warning: You may have seen the press coverage about people uploading inappropriate footage – it’s feasible this site, which is not endorsed by Vine, may feature some of those).

Brands are already starting to use it and there are some great examples around.

So that’s my take, what’s yours? Have you tried it? Do you prefer something else? Can you imagine using it for comms within your organisation? You’re welcome to comment below or tweet me @AllthingsIC, Rachel 

P.s I just created a video about publishing this article, you can see it here and below

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