When I first discovered Vine, I was curiously drawn to it. If you haven't heard, Vine is a video-sharing app launched in January that allows users to upload 6-second videos. But what’s extra special is that it lets you edit clips in realtime with a mere thumb tap. The concept is simple; even though the quality of Vines ranges from brilliant to banal, I think its parent company Twitter has stumbled on to something groundbreaking.If Instagram shares beautiful moments, then Vine shares curated moments. There's an immediacy and intentionality to Vines that reflect experiences in refreshingly powerful ways. Even seemingly mundane snippets become compelling, and the portal they open is undeniable.
In addition to these unvarnished glimpses into everyday lives, Vine is a logical extension of time compression meeting content creation. Let’s look back over the past five years:
2006: Twitter drives a societal shift toward compressing written thoughts into 140 characters or less (why waste time on full sentences anyway?)
2010: Instagram follows suit by simplifying the ability to capture, edit and share photos (who can afford Photoshop?)
2013: Vine condenses time to capture, edit and share video (ever tried using Final Cut Pro?)
If we consider this in a broader context, Vine is yet another example of the transformative and disruptive nature of the smartphone. It gives us a glimpse into moments of peoples' lives, something that we as researchers long for. It's obvious that the smartphone is a powerful ethnographic medium that will immerse us more deeply into consumers’ lives. In 2012, Gongos released SmartFly™ Beta, the industry’s first live mobile ethnography offering. Using 4G technology, researchers go face-to-face with consumers without being physically being there. With 220 million 4G LTE worldwide subscriptions estimated by 2014, it’s clear qualitative research will be alive, well, and reshaped by emerging technologies.Vine is only three months old, but there’s certain to be something new on the horizon. Beyond words, photos and videos, other aspects of life are sure to benefit from the constant urge to reclaim time. What’s coming next and how do you think it will impact how we think about research?