Vine vs. Instagram: Clash of the Cool Kids

Within hours of Facebook announcing they had added a chance to shoot short, 15-second looping videos to Instagram, the language “RIP Vine” were trending worldwide on Twitter. As ever, the cool kids had overreacted, spurred on by Justin Bieber’s first video plus a very convincing effort to advertise the service on Facebook’s part.

Adding video to Instagram wasn't the death of Vine that many predicted. If anything, adding an alternative service where to post your looping videos should be embraced - competition is good for business, after all. But what’s the main difference between them?

And why can’t you use both?

Note: This article considers my experience with the iOS versions of both Vine and Instagram. The services are also available via official clients to the Android os, though development is just not necessarily in sync between both separate versions.

Technically Speaking

There are some clear differences from a Vine video as well as an Instagram video. First up, six seconds is you get on Vine to inform your tale. That’s a limitation, but consider it more like a rule: you have to get all you want within your video recorded in six seconds. This is done by touching and holding the screen, or you are able to record small fragments frame-by-frame by tapping the screen.

Instagram will give you a whole 15 seconds to experience with here, so you’ve got a lot more time to use (however, you don’t need to use it all). Recordings are made in the same fashion, except by touching and holding the capture button rather than anywhere on the watch's screen. Similarly, though I managed a rudimentary stop-motion film I didn’t believe Instagram offered a similar responsive, frame-by-frame tap-to-capture mode. This would allow it to be unsuitable for stop-motion animation.

In addition to video length, the equipment provided can be a little more refined in Vine - though only for your iOS version before writing. Twitter has added options to utilize the front-facing camera, a grid for better composition, a focus mode (tap it, tap to target, then tap it again to return to shooting) and “ghost mode” - or what I recognised as “onion skin” mode. Simply put, “ghost mode” permits you to see the previous shot overlayed over the viewfinder, in order to create perfect stop motion videos that don’t lose a record of items. It’s worth mentioning that the Vine community was rather efficient at using the app for animation before these extra tools were added. Vine is now more than a visual parallell to Twitter, it’s an animation toybox!

Then again Instagram has it’s upshots too, specially when it comes to post processing. I’m not talking about filters (yet) either, but editing. Instagram included an “oops” function that allows you to delete the past clip you shot if you aren't happy with it. Think of it like backspace for videos, as that’s how it works. Such a feature is missing from Vine, if you could argue this truer for the Twitter ethos - Tweets are disposable, in fact. Once you’ve shot (and re-shot) your clips, Instagram can smooth it finished image stabilisation - nothing special, but nevertheless lacking in Vine. Being Instagram, it's a given there are 13 video filters to make use of, as both versions you can preview in realtime.

It may additionally be worth indicating that Vine only lets you shoot video, whereas Instagram earned its stripes as a photo sharing platform, understanding that functionality will be as polished as always.

The Popularity Contest

There is a lot more separating the two than just the technical limitations of every app, particularly when it comes to consumption. I’ve long stood a problem with Instagram’s Explore tab - in my experience it’s either advertising, photos that were obviously not taken which has a smartphone or images that aren’t photos at all, but “meaningful” quotes and phrases.

Unfortunately Vine has succumbed on the popularity contest too. For months now, the service has become victim to self-promotion over a massive scale on the point where most comments on items in Vine’s Popular Now section are literally “CHECK OUT MY VINES LOLOLOL”. This is probably the consequence of the social network’s power to elevate certain community members to micro-celebrity status. Vine is a lot like open mic night with a comedy gig - everyone is able to have a go, but you’ll soon notice who keeps appearing on the bill continuously.

Both services permit you to follow and be followed, and while both also allow searching via hashtags, only Vine users get channels. Added in the most recent (iOS) update, Vine presently has 15 dedicated channels which you are able to submit your videos to, including Comedy, Dogs, Music, Weird and my favourite Art & Experimental. It works virtually: tap a channel, scroll forever. You can now also re-vine anything, which is similar to retweeting nevertheless for Vine videos.

Sharing outside of the app may be possible from both services, with Facebook having only recently added the opportunity to embed Instagram videos on a page. Unfortunately, Facebook have stopped all Instagram content displaying via embedded Tweets, or via and also other clients like Tweetdeck. Conversely, Vine embeds alongside Tweets all right.

Use Both!

Hey you know what? I have an Instagram account! I also have a Twitter account, by which I started using Vine. You too, will use both. Believe it or not, you don’t ought to swear an allegiance to only one service. Taking a swooping shot of your beach-side resort at sunset? Instagram’s longer videos, filters and image stabilisation will most likely provide the best results.

But if it’s stop-motion art, experimental rough and ready weirdness or perhaps a quick video you need to get on Twitter then I’d always reach for Vine. I also find it easier to get and simply “browse” Vine, though there’s no arguing that Instagram compensates for its shortcomings within the sheer volume of users who frequent the service.

Both Instagram and Vine offer a chance to sell yourself for the world, and there are challenges to conquering both. Check out some of our hottest Instagram marketing tips and advice for furthering your photos as well as some of the more interesting uses of Vine as well as the highlights so far if you’ve enjoyed reading this article.

Which does one prefer? Have you tried Instagram video yet? What can you think of Vine’s latest update? Share your thoughts and looping videos below.

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