In life, it’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. On the Internet, though, pictures have their limitations and videos tend to be overlooked as a functional utility. Why is that?
Countless hardware and software advances have increased our ability to capture and share video by orders of magnitude. Texting is quick and effective but limited to alphanumeric characters. Picture sharing can be beautiful and artistic, yet it ultimately becomes a simple snapshot of one angle. Video can be the ultimate communication tool by showing many angles while the user speaks exactly what he or she wants to convey.
Today’s technology infrastructure has developed in a way to support rising network speeds and increased data limits. The stars are aligning for social mobile video to become the preferred method of online sharing. Users thus face a new dilemma: the issue isn’t a matter of whether or not to use video, but which method to use?
For video to be a true online sharing utility, an app needs to be purposeful and useful for both the sharer and the sharee. Many publicly uploaded videos on YouTube, Vimeo, and other platforms contain extra footage that fails to get to the point quickly. This is fine for longer-form videos that are created for artistic or entertainment purposes. However, it doesn’t quite work that well as a simple communication tool.
Utility or artistic — those are essentially the two paths online video can take. Depending on what a user wants to do, different options can better suit their needs for video sharing. The newest innovators across the online video space include:
flik: Using a maximum of eight seconds, flik takes a slightly different approach to social video sharing. Rather than open things up to general social status updates or commentary, flik video subject matter focuses on user opinion or micro-reviews on products and places.
Vine: Twitter’s video-sharing module provides a means for quick communication or video snapshots. At just six seconds, Vine is the video equivalent of Twitter’s microblog messaging with subject matter covering whatever the user wants.
Keek: With 36 seconds available to record, Keek offers efficient ways to post video status updates. Keek is designed to start or continue a conversation through video snippets, along with offering live chat functionality.
Instagram: Instagram is already successful as a photo-sharing platform for social networking. Many Instagram users post artistic photos (hence, their popular filters), and the recently added video option continues this. At a maximum of 15 seconds and with 13 possible video filters, Instagram video enhances the platform’s artistic possibilities.
Pinterest: In May, Pinterest added video sharing to its online pinboard platform. Unlike Keek, Instagram, or Flik, Pinterest acts as a hub to post videos from other service such as YouTube. That means that there are no limitations to Pinterest video length; instead, videos pinned come with all the good and bad of the original creator’s quality.
In many cases, the more specific a platform’s purpose, the more effective it is for the user. For example, flik acts as a go-to source when user’s want to provide video commentary on a product or place, essentially becoming a video-driven means for ratings and reviews. Similarly, Pinterest’s pinboards are dedicated to specific topics and categories, allowing users to search for what other people have found to be relevant on a subject.
The Internet is big enough to support numerous successful apps and platforms to service different user needs. But for videos to maximize their potential, the platform itself has to foster an environment where they can be fully appreciated. Thus, regardless of whether the platform is designed to be a communication tool or an artistic display, its purpose is the most important part. This creates an inherent trust in the user base – a trust that is necessary to organically grow into a successful industry leader.
About the Author
Chris Hayes is the co-founder and CTO of flik, a social mobile app where users share products and places they love through short videos. Chris holds a BS in computer science & economics from Northwestern University, was a national chess champion at the age of 12, and is a submarine-pitching professional baseball player.