Vine Will Survive!

Instagram is planning to launch video functionality in two days. But don’t go deleting Vine just yet. Before shoving Vine’s into the deadpool, let’s just calm it down a second.

Vine has been declared by many as the “Instagram for Video.” Instagram’s own video product is likely already too late to squash Vine like a bug. Heck, Facebook couldn’t even get Poke and Messenger off the ground after incumbents clobbered the space. What makes anyone think Instagram video would be any different?

Vine launched in January of this year, just after the holidays, and spent a few months ramping up the user base before launching on Android a few weeks ago. At the time, Vine had 13 million downloads. Not too shabby for approximately five months of work. It took Vine a few days to swing to the top of the App Store, and the same was true on Google Play following the Android launch.

When Instagram launched on Android, seventeen months after launching on iOS, it had around 30 million users. Obviously, users are a different metric than downloads, but you can see how Vine’s growth is relatively astounding given the timeframe. Especially when you factor in the less pointed evidence: Vine shares have surpassed Instagram shares on Twitter, for example, or even just hearing the term “Vine it” regularly in every day life. And having Twitter as a parent company doesn’t hurt either.

Vine is already established, and better yet, making waves. Vine was used by the Tribeca Film Festival for a special #6SecFilm Contest. The app has been toyed with by designers and advertisers to build new interactive music videos. Brands love Vine because it lets products move in ways that Twitter and Facebook don’t.

And Vine, of course, is still iterating quickly. We’ve seen the team respond to feature requests like the ability to use front-facing camera as well as rear-facing camera, and I wouldn’t be suprisedt to see interesting additions like Voiceover or Animation pop up soon.

Instagram is a powerful foe. The app has over 100 million users, and is now owned by the most powerful social network in the world. But this is far from the end of Vine.

First, Vine is the end product of what Instagram was built to be. Vine skipped past still photos, and filters to make those photos (taken with bad mobile cameras) look prettier, and the slow grind of adding @mentions and photo maps and all those iterative feature tweaks.

Instead, Vine launched as a true Instagram for video, which now has an active and seemingly happy user base. It’s not Twitter’s Cleaner fish, even if Twitter bought up the app and launched it into existence (unlike Instagram’s organic growth that was later bought up by Facebook).

But where Instagram feels like a consumption app first (a time sink, almost), Vine doesn’t. Scrolling through my Vine stream is like having a hangover during an earthquake. Most often, it’s a lot of clanging and wind noise coupled with shaky video of my friends’ latest vacation.

Still, Vines are excellent content. I am utterly pleased when I see a link pop up in my Twitter stream, or surface in someone’s Facebook Timeline. I’m even more elated by a link sent to my desktop. I like to watch the six-second thrill ride in all its glory. There’s something special about getting a glimpse (in video no less!) into someone’s world.

Instagram is a different story. There was a time when I could scroll through Instagram for days. I’m not so entranced by the photo-sharing phenom anymore. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I get a sense of Instagram fatigue, both on the creative and consumptive side.

Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I’m all hopped up on Vine. Maybe Instagram’s had its time?

People like consuming video, sure, but it’s almost shocking how much people love making videos, too. Especially when given the right tools. When I see something cool happening out in the world, Instagram is no longer enough. I pray to the social media gods that this wondrous, hilarious, or downright insane scene before me will last the six seconds I need. I sense how strongly other people feel the same as I do.

Instagram for video might offer a similar creative experience, but it’ll be hard to do so without copying Vine’s ability to string together multiple clips in such an easy manner. Easy is the key. And we all know what happens when Facebook tries to copy a threat. Messenger launched after WhatsApp and Viber were blowing up. Poke launched to (shamefully) combat Snapchat. And here comes Instagram, ready to take on Vine.

But will Vine crumble where other competitors stood firm? Will it lay down and die?

Oh no! Not Vine! Vine will survive.