By nature, I am skeptical and untrusting of new social media developments.
In high school, I told my parents to “slap some sense into me” if I ever got a Twitter. At the time, I could never compute the need of a tool that allowed you to share a 140-character thought. I saw Twitter as a waste of time. Now, much of my day revolves around checking my Twitter feed for news I might have missed. I use Twitter every day, and I tease Texan reporters who don’t.
Initially, I had a similar attitude toward Vine, a video-sharing app that allows users to capture six seconds' worth of video. Everyone seems to be in love with it, and until recently I was holding out. Why not just take a picture? How is it possible to capture anything of value in just six seconds?
But when considering the journalistic implications of Vine, I have reversed my opinion. Just like Twitter did, Vine marks the beginning of a new way to cover breaking news.
Vine allows journalists to film a 6-second video and instantly post it to their social media sites. I am not aware of any other technology that does the same. It allows reporters to cover breaking news with more multimedia elements. This is for news consumers who are on a bus and can’t tune in to TV to watch breaking news. This is for the breaking news story that requires a little bit of video to tell the tale.
And this is already happening. On Monday, a Twitter user by the name of Doug Lorman sent a Twitter message of a Vine of the Boston Marathon explosion.
Boston Marathon explosion from the news vine.co/v/bFdt5uwg6JZ— Doug_Life (@Doug_Lorman) April 15, 2013
Lorman has only 300 followers, but since then his Twitter message has gotten more than 100 retweets and his Vine has been the subject of several news articles — including ones on HuffingtonPost and AdAge.
What if the next winning Super Bowl touchdown catch is caught on Vine? What if the most dramatic point of the next presidential debate is shared on Vine? What if the next tornado to tear apart Central Texas is caught on Vine?
Last week, I noticed that a substantial number of Texas Student Television volunteers use Vine. And they aren’t just using Vine — they are using it well. I sent a Twitter message of this observation, and the TSTV Twitter responded with: “makes sense that we would love a video app though, yes?”
“Oh,” I thought. “Well, duh.”
It makes perfect sense that broadcast journalists would be falling head over heels for a social media service that allows instant video sharing. And as a reporter who deals primarily with words and little with video, I will be looking to broadcast journalists as I stumble into a world of video-sharing and try to find the best way to make use of Vine.
After all, next time breaking news happens, I might not just be live-tweeting it. I might be live-vining it as well.