Don’t Die on the Vine

I’m far from being a technology early-adopter, but I think that Twitter’s Vine might catch on.  The service allows users to shoot only six-second audio/video clips, which are looped and can be shared through social media.  Its ease and forced brevity makes sense, since I believe people prefer a six-second update on some things, versus a longer YouTube clip.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, well then a Vine must be worth 6,000.  Marketers, media  and celebrities are already swinging on the Vine.  Agencies like Ketchum are providing guidance.  And clever members of the public are already showing how artistic the medium can be.

Will the service spread and menace like kuzdu, or become an irritant like poison oak?  Time will tell.  Either way, the service may already have implications in accelerating crisis management situations and helping manage these situations.

In the spirit of the service, here are only six quick examples:


  • Clips of accidents and tragedies.  We all know that the US Airways “Miracle on the Hudson” story was first shared via pictures on Twitter, before the media could get camera crews to the West side.  Think of how more dramatic a six-second video and audio would have been.  A quick Vine video of these would spread more quickly than a longer YouTube post, in my opinion.
  • Hidden-camera exposés of bad behavior.  Again, anyone can record a bad customer service experience or someone breaking the rules and post it to YouTube.  The truncated nature of the six-second clip may make these clips more prone to go viral – especially if there’s a story of someone being wronged.
  • Out-of-context clips.  Some activists have a history of distributing videos out-of-context in order to make their point and drive membership.   By example, the truncated Vine clips can be thusly manipulated to make a protest seem bigger than it is, to showcase an animal being (seemingly) mistreated, to make a company seem like it ignoring environmental obligations, etc.


  • Emergency management quick tips.  FEMA, CDC, DHS, NOAA and others have done a good job of adopting social media to spread the word on how to stay safe and prepared for oncoming threats.  Vine provides a six-second window to amplify these messages in a way that may be more compelling than a longer YouTube video.
  • Faster/broader dispersion of key sound bites.  Many companies have used YouTube to share an empathetic message about what a company is doing about an emerging crisis. Perhaps a six-second version of those messages will spread more quickly and more broadly – and also link back to places to find more rich information.  I also see value in these short videos to quickly identify a product that has been recalled.
  • Quick hoax buster.   One of the unfortunate by-products of networked communities is that it gives mischief makers and ne’er-do-wells the power to spread lies and hoaxes.  Vine could provide companies very quick ways of illustrating that a syringe could never be inserted into a soda can at the manufacturing plant, or how to quickly spot a counterfeit product.

As with all emerging social media trends — this one deserves to be watched and should be incorporated into broader crisis management planning, training and testing.

Thoughts?  Share ‘em below.

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