• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

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Thing 48: Vine

Page history last edited by Helen 10 years, 11 months ago

By Katrina Windon


Vine is a free video-sharing app, owned by and specifically designed for Twitter, but usable as a stand-alone app or with Facebook. Currently available for iPhones and Android devices, Vine allows for the creation and sharing of six-second looping videos. They’re essentially animated GIFs with sound (and you can use GIF Vine to make them actual animated GIFs). You can’t edit the video, but you can record either in one continuous shot or as separate shots (giving a stop motion effect). The time constraint makes Vine ideal for quick peeks—this is not the space to explain anything in-depth, or to cover controversial topics that require lots of context. You might not need any audio in your video at all. Your caption will be limited to 140 characters, the length of a tweet, so make sure you can adequately describe the content within those bounds. Use hashtags, where appropriate, just as you would with Twitter. You can also use mentions (@username) if you’re referring to another Vine or Twitter user. Currently only Twitter and Facebook cross-posting is incorporated into the app, but once a Vine post has been shared to either Twitter or Facebook, you can embed it on any site.  You can also use Storify to link related Vine posts (as well as other social media posts) together.


The White House used it to promote the White House Science Fair. Journalists have used it for breaking news. Comedians have used it for quick, punchy jokes. Everyday people have used it for reaction videos, for outfit-of-the-day videos, for look-at-my-cute-pet videos. Libraries have been using it to promote new books, events, and displays, as well as for brief instructional videos.


So far, few archives have been utilizing its potential, but there are a lot of possibilities for archival outreach. Give a sneak preview of a new exhibit. Show just what’s inside one of those acid-free folders. Let people see the supplies archivists use (if your supply closet is fit for public viewing). Let people see archivists (you!) at work. Promote an event. Welcome a new employee. Show off a new accession.


Once you’ve joined Vine, you can use the Explore section of the app to find and follow other users. Currently, non-users can’t browse Vine accounts directly, which makes posting to Twitter or Facebook essential for reaching a wider viewership.


Run videos by someone else before you post them—make sure no one is identifiable who didn’t consent to be used in the video. Think about the need for release forms. Think carefully about what accounts you follow using an institutional account—all of that information is publicly viewable. Review Vine’s privacy policy, and make sure it doesn’t conflict with your institution’s social media policies. Know your audience, know your time limit, and don’t subject your followers to a 6-second Cloverfield. But also—have fun. Experiment with the medium. It’ll only take seconds, after all.



  1. Explore Vine. Try using VinePeekSeenive, or VineRoulette to see what kind of content others are creating before you actually download the app. Search some library and archives-related hashtags.
  2. Think about where you want to share your Vine videos, and the message you want to send. Consider where your library already has an audience, and where you think it can build one.
  3. Download the app and set up a Vine profile, using your institution’s Twitter handle, if it has one. Otherwise, use the email account your institution uses for social media (if you don’t have one, create one!).
  4. Select what you’d like to feature in your video.
  5. Record video using your camera phone. If you’re recording something that needs handling (like archival materials), get someone else to do either the handling or the recording.
  6. Upload the video to Vine, and share.


Blog Prompts

  • What did you choose to film? What other subjects do you think would work well for future videos?
  • Did you choose to share solely via Vine, or did you share on other social networks as well? How compatible was Vine with your social network(s) of choice? 
  • How did the time constraint impact your creative decisions?




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