CINCINNATI - Promoted as a “fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family,” the debut of Instagram in 2010 took tech-savvy photo buffs by storm. Within two months more than 1 million people were “Instagramming." The free app, with its filter options, allows users to transform ordinary photos into works of art.
By September of 2011, Instagram was at 10 million users. Seven months later a major merger took place in the social media world. Facebook bought the photo app for $1 billion, making it the social network's largest purchase.
Putting it into perspective, the company Yahoo purchased the photo sharing site Flickr for $35 million in 2005. That’s about 2.5 times less than what Instagram sold for.
Timelime: The race for your app attention
Not to be outdone, Twitter introduced Vine in the spring of 2013. The mobile app allows Twitter users to produce and share short, looping videos. Similar to the concept of Twitter and the “140 character rule," Vine challenges users to get the most from six seconds.
By early June, Vine had garnered 2.86 million shares on Twitter, surpassed those of Instagram, which had about 2.17 million shares.
The creators of Instagram took notice of how popular the 6-second series of looping video proved to be and decided to up the ante. On June 20, Instagram announced the app would now allow users to post 15-second videos, along with the filters and effects that Instagram fans already love.
Within minutes of the announcement various social media sites were flooded with the hashtag #RIPVine.
Vine felt an immediate impact. The analytics tool Topsy reported a 40 percent decrease in the number of Vine videos posted on social media sites in the seven days following the launch of Instagram Video.
Thousands of users took to social media sites citing the reasons they felt the latest update by Instagram could possibly make Vine a thing of the past.
Social media consultant Shannan Boyer of Scooter Media in Northern Kentucky said Instagram Video and Vine are changing the way companies are connecting with consumers.
“A lot of brands were already using the tool to reach people so the addition of video just made it easier to reach people on another level,” Boyer said.
Big name companies such as Orville Redenbacher, Charity Water, and Lululemon are making the most of the video applications. MTV recently revealed nominees for several Video Music Award categories using Vine and Instagram video.
Although a fan of both platforms, Boyer said she is partial to Instagram’s video element.
“Fifteen seconds is just enough time to make a meaningful connection with an audience,” she said.
What's the people's choice?
So how is the audience adapting to the new upgrades?
Shiv Kedia a senior at University of Cincinnati is currently active on both Instagram and Vine. Using Instagram to share his “artsy” images of food, places and people he was intrigued with the announcement of Instagram Video.
“I thought it was pretty cool but I also thought it was a direct attack at vine which is a twitter application,” Kedia said.
Another user of both platforms is Mackenzie Ater from Washington Court House, Ohio says she is partial to Vine because unlike Instagram, Vine has stayed true to original purpose.
“Instagram is for pictures. Everything should have its own category."
Regardless of which platform you decide to use, Boyer stressed that social media is always evolving.
“There are always new filters and new developments, so if you’ve tried one and weren't a fan, periodically check back to see what changes have been made you may be surprised,” she advised.
On July 3, Vine rolled out new features: re-vining and private channels. Still, according to the data, the app has continued to slip down the app charts: from No.12 to No. 16 in the U.S. and from No.16 to No. 21 in the U.K.
Mike Isaac of AllThingsD.com says it's too soon to declare a winner in the Instagram v. Vine faceoff. In his view, there's simply not enough reliable data to draw any conclusions yet.
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Which video app do you prefer: Vine or Instagram?