Reconsidering Vine

vine_questionTwo weeks ago, I posted about how I didn’t really see a use for Vine.  I couldn’t see why one would need to post short videos when a photo or an animated GIF would do.  Of course, on Sunday, we went to the Museum of Innovation and Science (MiSci) in Schenectady to see their new Notion of Motion exhibit.  I quickly realized that photos wouldn’t do many of the exhibits justice.  What I needed was a video.  Not a long video, but just a short one.  I found myself posting Vine after Vine.

This is where the blog post diverges from my intended course.  I meant to share some of the Vines that I posted and write about how I now found the service very useful.  Unfortunately, my first step in posting the Vines ran into a snag.  Although I had set each Vine to post to Twitter, none of them did.

No problem, I thought.  I’ll just go to the Vine videos and share them out either to Twitter or another service.  That will give me a link.  However, Vine videos apparently can’t be shared out except at the moment they are posted.  No, you can’t find a great Vine video and tweet about it.  Nor can you post a link to Facebook or another service.  You can’t even e-mail someone to point them to the Vine.

Furthermore, since Vine doesn’t give you a public profile page (like this link to my Instagram profile page), I couldn’t go there to find all of my Vines.  Without direct links to the Vines, I couldn’t embed them here or link to them at all.  They remained locked on my cell phone screen.

(Note: I was able to get a link to my profile page, but it’s in a "vine://" format that only works within the Vine app.  Useless for sharing with someone’s web browser.)

Perhaps you could find them if you searched for "TechyDad" on Vine.  The only problem with this is that Vine doesn’t seem to have a search function.  (At least not on the Android version.  Someone on the iPhone version will have to let me know if Vine has a general search function there.)  You can see "Editor’s Picks", "Popular Now", and some trending hashtags, but you can’t seek out content on your own.  I can’t, for example, see who has posted Vines with a #DoctorWho hashtag.  I might be interested in users posting this, but unless that hashtag trends, it’ll be hidden from me.

These are basic functions that are missing.  Vine almost had me, but unless they get these quickly, I’ll be lost as a user again.

It’s worthwhile to note another service that almost lost me due to basic lack of usefulness: Instagram.  Way back when, you needed a third party service to link to a Profile page for Instagram.  Thankfully, Instagram saw the light and now has a web presence that I can refer people to.  Vine should doubly pay attention because rumor has it that Instagram is working on a Vine-like video service.  If I can post a video or a photo from the same service, one that gives me a web-accessible profile link, then I’d be likely to stick with that service.

Better get moving quick, Vine.  You’ve made an interesting service, but there are glaring holes.  If you don’t fill them, someone else will pass you by and you’ll be regulated to the dustbin of Internet history.

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