Twitter’s video-sharing app Vine launched on Thursday, and immediately ran into technical problems. But the tech world continues to buzz about the new app in what industry watchers see as a testament to Twitter’s muscle as a PR vehicle.
Vine is not the first video-sharing app. Tout, a platform for sharing 15-second videos, emerged from the prestigious Stanford Research Institute to launch in 2010. It has secured some $15 million in venture funding. Viddy launched in 2011 and has garnered $36 million in funding from investors including Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
Vine is not the best video-sharing app, according to users. Even after two updates to fix bugs, Vine’s current version gets a 2.5-star average rating in the App Store. Viddy enjoys a 4.5-star rating. Tout boast 5 stars, but only has 11 reviewers for its latest version.
“The 6-second, and easy-to-make video is somewhat new, but overall the thing is Twitter’s ability to reach users is because they get lots of press attention,” said Gartner analyst Brian Blau.
Courtney Chapman, a communities manager at the social media analytics platform Viralheat, agreed.
“The reason behind it is most likely that Twitter is behind it, and there’s just so much noise surrounding it,” she said.
Staffers, advisors and investors aggressively talked the product up on Twitter over the weekend, even directly comparing it to Facebook’s breakout media-sharing platform, Instagram.
— Sam Pullara (@sampullara) January 26, 2013
Every time I launch Instagram now I catch myself pausing for a moment waiting for the sound and motion to kick in.
— Marcel Molina (@noradio) January 26, 2013
Twitter did not respond when asked whether such tweets were encouraged by the company.
Average users will ultimately decide if Vine becomes the sought-after “Instagram of video.”
Chapman said she’s already seen Vine extend its user base to include a number of bloggers, suggesting it may gain traction with a wider audience. Some were even using their Instagram profiles to post screen shots of their Vine user names.
But the buzz about the service hasn’t jumped over to Facebook’s platform.
“I haven’t seen any mention of it in my Facebook stream,” Chapman said.
Gaining new users is great, online services succeed when those users remain active.
“For a popular media type like video, you will always have multiple players competing for user attention. App users will give all of these a try but will only stick with the ones that best serve their needs. That means the app has to have a narrow purpose, be easy to use and have an intuitive interface,” Blau said.
And one key part of user experience, given the current war between Twitter and Facebook, will be which of the video-sharing apps will be provide users with fast, reliable ways to share their videos on both social networks.