Video for Instagram was a great move for Facebook. Sure it may have lifted this feature straight from Vine, but it can hardly be blamed for that. Vine is growing in popularity every day. Facebook would be foolish to let all the spoils of this phenomenon go to Twitter. By allowing videos in Instagram, Facebook will likely reel users before they learn about Vine. It’s now far more convenient for the average Instagram user to avoid Vine. They won’t have to keep up with another set of credentials, they won’t have to build up another online presence and they won’t have to convince their friends to join.
Social networks flourish when you share it with your own community of friends. For myself and others, Google+ was never appealing because friends wouldn’t join. It’s like throwing a party but no one shows up. Sure Google’s house is nicer, the food is tastier and the music is better, but all your friends would rather go to a party in Facebook’s sweaty basement. It’s not that they have no class, it’s because they enjoyed the familiar company that the basement party offered. That’s what Instagram has going for it. It has become one of the primary places where friends keep in contact with each other. A lot of those Instagram friends also happen to be Facebook friends as well. It’s familiar, and people like familiar.
At this point, it doesn’t matter which company has the superior service because Instagram will stand out more either way. Truth be told, Vine and Instagram both accomplish the simple task they set out to do by creating short videos. Each one also has features the other does not. For example, Instagram’s videos don’t automatically loop. On the other hand, Vine doesn’t have video filters. Instagram also has advantages with its cinema video stabilization and custom video icons. These are both features Vine can implement in a software update.
To me, the six second versus 15 second video clip argument is negligible. Anyone can make six second clips on Instagram if they want. I also think the video content itself will determine if a clip is too long. For example, if watching a six second selfie of someone making weird faces is enough to get under your skin, then naturally a 15 second clip of the same thing will be 2.5 times more irritating. At the same time, 15-second versions of fantastic content like Will Sasso’s lemon videos from Vine can be 2.5 times more entertaining.
There’s room for both Vine and Instagram. The competition created from these two apps will only result in better features for users in the end. However, extra features aren’t going to determine which app is superior. It’s all going to come down to user engagement. Instagram doesn’t need to build a community as badly as Vine does. It already has one that’s populated with countless friends. Those friends are going to spread the word about videos both directly and indirectly on Instagram and Facebook. Vine just didn’t have enough time to conquer the market. Now that Instagram has joined the party, it never will.