Non-linear communication has taken foothold among the more traditional short forms of communicating online. It has quickly become the go-to way to share a moment. But with the proliferation of sharing and hacking, platforms like Vine and Snapchat are quickly becoming the most desirable media to communicate across.
Quick phone calls, voicemails, text messages, tweets, instant messages and Facebook posts have grown stale. Mobile users are starting to become much more abstract as more and more people communicate through more abstract means. An Instagram photo, a Snapchat peek and now a short Vine flick are starting to become more common forms of communication.
Humans instinctively challenge digital barriers by finding new and inventive ways to communicate more naturally. We are communicative beings and will always naturally evolve the way we do so through faster and faster evolution of technology and social networks. Non-linear communication represents our deep desire to break through the boundaries of traditional communication technology and tell a much deeper story about what is going on around us at a particular moment.
A New Platform
One of the fastest emerging platforms that is transforming the way we communicate is a product from the company that literally owns the most powerful platform for fast, instant communication: Twitter. This new form of communication is called Vine.
Unlike YouTube or Vimeo, a Vine is a short, six-second blip that seems to be able to capture multiple dimensions. Its overnight popularity and ability to capture a moment has a lot to do with its interface – no buttons, no settings, no switches or layers, just simple human intuition, a finger touching or not touching the screen. It’s that simple.
Vine has also emerged as the go-to short video platform for brands. Because of its support from Twitter, there seems to have been virtually zero friction or concern for brands to quickly start posting six-second videos to the platform. No strategy, no brief, no thinking, just doing. On day one we saw brands like Trident, GE, Urban Outfitters, Cadbury, The Gap and USA Today all posting to the network in what seemed like clunky but natural and genuine ways of testing the platform. They were figuring out its nuances and all it was capable of doing – rapid jump cuts, stop motion, animation and single scene-based story telling.
As we move into a more mobile-centric world, the types of content we consume will have to adjust to the rapid pace that is mobile. Vine is the perfect storm that arrived at exactly the right time to fill a need for something a little more dynamic than animated GIFs, while being meaningful enough to be a viable storytelling device.
Borrowing from the brevity of Twitter, Vine is poised to be the new mobile video format for brands to advertise on mobile devices. Six seconds seems to be exactly the right amount of time for a mobile user to quickly digest a narrative that is effective enough to persuade or to add value to a brand in its core content. Users can finally get bite-sized chunk of brands without feeling like they have to ‘Like’ themselves into a long-term frenzy of messages that clutter up their social streams. For example, Bacardi UK is one brand doing it right with the #sixsecondcocktail, which is a perfect use of the platform.
— Bacardi UK (@BacardiUK) February 19, 2013
Consumers have also taken to the platform, and brand logos are showing up everywhere. Video captures so much more than a single frame, giving brands more of an opportunity to serendipitously show up in user-generated content.
This is only the beginning of a new phase of mobile advertising. We will soon see technologies that will be able to detect, track, aggregate and measure non-linear content in highly effective ways. Once we are able to detect sentiment, direction, narrative and intent through these snippets, we will be one step closer to a more natural and holistic mobile and social advertising platform.
The nature of non-linear communication is the abstract nature of its form. New algorithms and techniques will have to be invented and employed in order to properly track and measure the effectiveness of these snippets. Until then, we can only rely on the peripheral reactions to these videos. Comments, views, mentions and shares are all very inaccurate ways to measure effectiveness, but they’re all we have at the moment.
Platforms like Vine need to continue to stay focused on providing the value its users expect from the platform. It is up to us, the marketers, to figure out the best ways to measure its effectiveness and relative return on the six seconds. Platforms like Vine and the even more extreme Snapchat are a glimpse into the challenges we as marketers will have to overcome in the next few years if we want to remain the experts in communication on behalf of our clientele.
And, like the platforms themselves, we have to figure it out really fast!