Last week Instagram integrated video into its massively popular photo-sharing application. The update allows users to seamlessly switch between photo and video mode, where they can record video up to 15 seconds with multiple clips, choose between 13 different filters and select the perfect cover image before sharing. The app also includes a stabilization feature to minimize shaky-cam, which often accompanies mobile video.
The web has done some incredible things, but one of its crowning achievements is bringing creativity to the mainstream. Now, anyone can have a platform to build, create and share his or her thoughts, ideas and self-expression. This has been the case for some time, but Instagram adding video and its Twitter counterpart Vine launching only five months ago signals another shift.
The Hardware Is Everywhere
Vine and Instagram aren’t the first of their kind. 12Seconds launched as a platform allowing people to record short videos twelve seconds in length. The platform folded. Vine and Instagram are different in the environment they’ve launched into.
Nearly everyone has access to a powerful computer capable of multimedia creation and editing, and it’s in their pockets. Mobile devices have improved dramatically, and their capabilities are accessible to and understood by most people. The tools are ubiquitous. Now the platforms to use those tools easily are available as well through services like Vine and Instagram.
Beyond the device is the mindset. Instagram makes video creation seem attainable to the masses.
Facebook as a Gateway Drug
Instagram has one thing Vine doesn’t, and that’s Facebook. With its 1 billion users and Instagram’s own 130 million, the partnership between these platforms makes video creation and sharing mainstream behavior. Yes, people have been able to create and share videos for a very long time, but to the average person, setting up a camera, recording, editing and uploading to something like YouTube sounds like a lot of work.
Instagram has given everyone permission to create and shore short video content.
When anything is democratized and available to more people, there’s going to be a lot of good that comes with it from talented content creators who didn’t know they could create content until now. There will also be a lot of noise and bad content from people who maybe shouldn’t have ever been given access to the Internet in the first place (I joke. I joke), but that’s the ebb and flow of the web. Leading edge technology goes mainstream and becomes accessible to all.
The Next Evolution of the Visual Web
The concept of a visual web has grown over the past year as user attention and successful content trends toward visuals. Now, video is getting added to the mix, which means marketers must understand how video fits into their approaches to content. Knowing photography is already a challenge for many brands, video provides additional hurdles. Consumers are already embracing short, imperfect, instant video. To stand out, brands may need to as well.