App of the Week: What Is the Deal with Vine Anyway?

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If you don't follow social media closely (hey, good for you!), you may be wondering what the hell a Vine is and why it has been in the news lately? Good question. Vine is another free social media app for smartphones built to share super short videos in much the same way Instagram shares videos but without the old-school photo effects.

What makes Vine rather unique is that it allows the user to shoot only six seconds worth of video, which Vine's developers no doubt considered the video equivalent of Twitter's 140 characters That makes sense given the app was developed by and is owned by Twitter. The app is EXTREMELY simple to use -- one of my favorite things. Basically, a user opens the app, taps the camera button at the top right and touches the screen to start recording. The video automatically stops recording when you remove your finger, so you can create multiple snippets adding up to six seconds of video.

The results, as with most forms of social media, have been a mixed bag of creativity, inanity and...porn.

One thing Vine does not do -- like many other apps -- is restrict users from posting adult content. As a result, a search of any number of more obvious hashtags can net a cornucopia of six-second porn. But that's only if you do a search. Sticking with your followers or with recommended videos from Vine will avoid unwanted views of strange dudes masturbating for six seconds -- I'll leave the jokes to you on this one.

Vine has been out since January, but it has been regarded as mostly a curiosity by Internet users until a pair of recent events brought it to the fore. The first was video of the Boston Marathon bombing. Videos that cobbled together the first few terrifying moments of the bombings spread across the Web. Fortunately, the second video was less awful, unless you hate memes. The "Ryan Gosling Just Won't Eat His Cereal" videos depicted the famous heartthrob in various movie scenes projected on a TV screen while the Vine user attempted to feed him cereal.

Often, it takes this kind of creativity to launch an app or social network's popularity and Vine appears to have finally started its 15 minutes of fame. Just how successful it will become now depends upon the legion of Twitter users adopting it for everyday use, but it seems, judging by the jump in videos being posted to Twitter and Facebook, that those users are beginning to embrace Vine, for better and worse...sometimes much worse.

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