Transportation Agencies Seem Slow to Adopt Vine

There is a video tool you might not know about. And, even if you know about Vine, you might not be using it, despite its rapidly growing popularity.

Last month, Twitter, which owns Vine, announced that it has registered 40 million users in its first eight months of service. Initially only available for iPhones, the Vine mobile app was made available to Android users in July and a Windows version was announced in July, as well.

If you have not yet tried Vine, it is an interesting little app that allows users to record videos up to six seconds long. The videos are typically shared via Twitter. Instagram recently added video, too, although Instagram allows videos up to 15 seconds long. And, unlike Vine, Instagram allows users to upload previously recorded video. There is a good comparison of the two video services at VentureBeat.com.

It is no surprise that video sharing has moved in this direction. YouTube enjoys billions of users. The popularity of online video has proven beneficial to transportation organizations, too. The latest survey of state departments of transportation social media programs (available online in early October from AASHTO) found that four out of five are already using some kind of online video service, consistent with the 2012 survey.

But so far, the mini-videos of Vine have not captured the wider attention of transportation organizations. I did some searching and only found a few examples of any transportation agencies using Vine. Here’s one from Chicago.

The always progressive North Carolina Department of Transportation shared this Vine.

The Kansas City Metro shared this video.

And, the Michigan Department of Transportation’s video unit used Vine to provide a peak behind the scenes of one of its productions.

There are two ideas that stand out when I look at Vine and Instagram and similar services. First, it is an inherently social medium. The Vine community is its biggest asset, and it is increasingly separate and unique from its Twitter-verse parent. Instagram for several years has developed a core community of users topping more than 140 million accounts. While I’m not sure the video service has been as popular as its photo sharing standard, that is a huge collection of potential viewers with which to engage.

Second, the nature of Vine, in particular, is based in mobile technology. It relies on the smartphone, which means to be successful communication teams have to think ahead, think fast and get out of the office.

I am not sure whether Vine or Instagram will become core tools for the transportation communicator. But both are worth experimenting with.

Are you using Vine or Instagram video? Tell us how in the comment section below.

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Author: Lloyd Brown

I am the director of communications for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. I enjoy running marathons and triathlons, playing guitar and spending time with family. My professional interest is in how social media and new technology shapes the communication relationship between government and the general public. I have a Master’s degree in Communications and Leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Washington State University.

5 thoughts on “Transportation Agencies Seem Slow to Adopt Vine”

  1. Hi Lloyd!

    Thanks for sharing examples of how transportation agencies are using these new video tools. Here’s another you may not know about: MixBit created by the founders of You Tube. According to their site, this new app & website:
    *is currently available on iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch). Android is coming soon!
    *allows users to make their own videos without shooting original content by remixing video clips they find on the site.
    *records videos in multiple clips as long as 16 seconds each. A finished video can include as many as 256 clips, for about an hour in total length.
    *allows clips to be stored as independent elements for easier editing and remixing, but play as one seamless video.
    *allows editing at any time – even after your video has been published. You can also save an unfinished video for later and manage multiple video projects at once.

    With new technology providing an ever changing landscape of ways to reach the public, once again transportation agencies are challenged to pick the right approach. No doubt the great info you are providing here will help to make those decisions a little easier.

  2. Thanks for sharing the Vine examples, Lloyd. At Kansas DOT we’re trying to figure out whether we can get some of our existing video (with messaging layered on top) posted through Vine. Instagram may be a better platform for that.

    1. Steve, that’s definitely an advantage of Instagram. I think there are a handful of state DOTs who are moving forward with regular Instagram postings because activity there is so strong.

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