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Vine: The new Twitter or chatroulette?

Vine, the six-second video app that launched last week, is in its extreme infancy. Extreme infancy is a fascinating time to look at any new platform. If it’s a fad like chatroulette, its infancy is all there will be; if it lasts like Twitter or YouTube, how it ends up being used will be both tangentially and fundamentally related to how it was initially used. On Vine, everything is new and shiny and hasn’t been done before. Right now, and for a limited time, you can take videos of your food without shame: You’re just seeing how this Vine thing works, after all. Such heady days will not last — and then what will be left?

A quick primer on Vine: It’s an extremely easy-to-use app that allows users to simultaneously shoot and edit very short videos. It’s owned by Twitter, and one way to think about it is as being to video what Twitter is to text: arbitrarily, but perhaps fruitfully, short. (Another way to think about Vine is that it's a program that basically lets you make GIFs of your YouTube videos and share them through your Instagram feed.) You point your iPhone at whatever you want to record and hold your finger down on the screen: The video pauses recording when you pick your finger up, and it starts recording again when you put it back down. You can start and stop as many times as you want within the six seconds, making it extremely easy to do edits and stop-motion tricks as you go. When you’re done, you upload the video, which loops continuously to your feed, where the people who follow you can see it, like it and comment on it.

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