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January 27, 2013

Influence of Twitter’s new app Vine for Crisis Communicators: Integration of Visual Storytelling & Power of Eye Witness Accounts

Vine appears to have made its mark in the social media world.  Vine, a video app which is now part of Twitter, which allows you to create a six second video (or GIF) to be shared via the microblog site. Many brands already are experimenting and figuring out how to use Vine for their businesses.

We have seen this for every new social media platform emerging on the scene whether it was Pinterest or Instagram or even tools like QR Codes.  What makes emerging technologies exciting is the fact we are constantly exploring various possibilities of how to use these new tools for be effective in reaching our audiences in a strategic manner.  Most likely, we will see various third party sites and tools that will measure and evaluate Vine like other sites have experienced as well.

Here is a video from CNET explaining what Vine is

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However, whenever a new platform comes up – it is great to think about all of the positive opportunities that can arise from this new tool.  But, what are some of the challenges to incorporating Vine?  What about the potential scenarios we can envision seeing with this new tool?  What are the best practices in preparing for these and how do we educate our colleagues on how to effectively use this new tool?  What makes Vine unique compared to other apps for crisis communicators?

These are just a few questions I feel are important to address and have a conversation on within the crisis community.  Here are just some points I would like to share:

  • Vine focuses on the power of eye witness video sharing: In a matter of seconds, you are able to see what someone else just experienced – whether it is positive activities like concerts, events, or even momentous occasions – but it can also be applied to realtime events like natural disasters or other crisis situations.
  • Vine raises the presence of visual storytelling to another level:  PR professionals are all about visual storytelling and how to communicate the vision of a company through visuals.  We usually see Pinterest or Instagram in the conversation here, but we have to also look at how Vine now can be included into the mix.  Stories need to be communicated not only in positive situations, but also un challenging times as well.
  • Vine is integrated already with one of the primary social media platforms for sharing news and updates: Having just a tweet response to a crisis is going to be so 2012.  We already saw this last year where the most retweeted or shared updates were ones that included links or pictures.  With the fallout with Instagram, Twitter has created their own platform which has been daubed the “Instagram for Video” already.  Having an app already part of one of the most powerful and influential news mediums presently is key for all crisis communicators to pay attention to.
  • Vine already has verified users:  Anticipating any potential online reputation crises, Vine has just released their own verified badges in case people want to take videos and post them as someone else.  Faking identities online has been one of the issues we have seen with Twitter, so it is interesting to see Vine take notice of this as well. With this being said, it is important for crisis communicators to take note of this and see if this would apply for some of their clients or organizations in particular.
  • Vine is condensing the amount of time to communicate a message:  It is all about the amount of time you have to communicate a message visually.  Ptch allows you to create a story up to 60 seconds while Tout allows you to create a video up to 15 seconds. Now, we have to condense our messages down to six seconds – which is pretty challenging, but something we can work on.
  • Vine promotes short attention span, but only takes one moment to capture the attention of an audience:  This new app could be used by crisis communicators to communicate current situation facing individuals in a crisis (ex. natural disaster, etc) and these videos have to be direct, concise, and to the point.
  • Vine allows users to do many things, which raises the issue to be included in social media policies:  The focus of the app is to allow the individual user to take videos behind the scenes, present clips from speeches, and even showcase videos of events and activities.  However, this should be updated and included in corporate, government, and even university social media policies.  Twitter has allowed everyone to become a citizen journalist, but Vine now has given the power and opportunity to everyone to become a broadcast citizen journalist.

In summary, Vine and Twitter have both created an interesting app that will definitely be used by brands, organizations, and professionals to tell their stories.  However, as crisis communicators, we have to look at additional insights that will be included (ex. analytics, third party tools, and the inclusion of geolocation as one of my Twitter and #smem colleagues Jeffrey Bezore mentioned today in a conversation) and other best practices with this app. I am sure the crisis community will have these discussions as well as additional implications as well.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

Karen

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