The post millennium era has breed a plethora of internet savvy entrepreneurs who have cashed in on life changing social networks and irresistible mobile applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Tumblr, Instagram and more. It seems like every week a new mobile app with the ability to be the next big thing is introduced to the world, and while some come and go, others have changed the way we interact throughout society as a whole. Facebook has become the greatest source of communication outside of the cell phone, Skype has given new life to long distance relationships and Twitter has impacted worldwide news like no television station ever could. With this said, there is a danger in these always changing mobile applications. We face a battle of productivity vs. entertainment, and this newest video sensation application Vine goes bounds over the line of unproductiveness.
There are positives and negatives that define the value of each social network and mobile application. Below is a breakdown of each major network and applications contributions and takeaways.
Facebook is great for keeping in touch with longtime friends, for promoting a business, sharing and organizing photographs, and expressing ones ideas with an online community. The downsides to Facebook were captured best in MTV’s hit TV series Catfish, which shows individuals posing as others and starting dishonest relationships. You can never be too sure who’s behind the other computer screen and people that rely on Facebook to make connections and not maintain them put themselves in immediate danger. Also, many teachers have been fired due to their conduct on Facebook and many employers have began to “spy” on their workers via their Facebook pages. To combat this, Facebook has installed a series of privacy options that can almost make you invisible to anyone outside of your core group of friends so this threat is limited based on one’s level of responsibility.
Twitter can be overly addictive as well, and one can spend hours having pointless conversations, spying on other people’s lives and bashing popular celebrities or cyber bullying. Many employers have to now worry about their employees drifting off into the Twitter-sphere instead of focusing on their assigned work throughout business hours thus decreasing productivity. There is no real way to monitor whether or not someone is tweeting while at work because of the privacy settings, and sometimes it’s really just too hard to put down. On the contraire however, Twitter is the fastest way to spread news and the most effective business-marketing tool so finding someone who understands the realm of this social application can be very valuable to a commercial business. Also, Twitter can be used to research target markets and test the public’s opinion on various topics.
Instagram came along and combined the most popular features of Facebook and Twitter and has become maybe the most addictive of the three. The vain society we live in, has made every moment into a picture whether it’s a sick day, strange occurrence, boredom, car accidents, working out, shopping, holidays or a public event. The most conceited individuals are highlighted on Instagram as they find ways to re-invent portraits of themselves over and over again in search of validation through comments and likes. Just like Twitter though, Instagram is a great marketing tool for commercial businesses and a great way to share photos with friends and loved ones.
Now, Vine has peaked in its popularity and unlike the previously mentioned applications and networks there really are no effective contributions to society or business that can be derived from its postings. Vine is a video application that allows mobile users to become directors of 6 second, self recorded, video clippings. Vine’s 6-second restriction makes the value of these videos depthless, and makes creating a great post comparably difficult to writing a Haiku. Trying to fit a full spectrum and message into 6 seconds makes many of the videos inaudible, and incomplete making it a poor means for communicating any idea. With this said, Vine has been used solely for comedic purposes, which makes 90% of the videos on the application obnoxious. Imagine going to a comedy club and watching every one of your twitter followers try to deliver a one-liner. This is the precise feeling delivered by Vine. Also, these 6-second clippings can take up to half an hour to produce at times because there is such a small margin for error. So Vine essentially is an app that takes more time to create postings on, which deliver less meaning and has no real purpose in the business world. This is where the line of entertainment overtakes the line of productiveness. Anyone who disagrees with this stance, just ask yourself: what can you truly accomplish within a 6 second mobile video clip? Matter of fact, I challenge you to debate my stance via a single Vine posting. Let me know how long that takes you.
-Written by Gregory Calvaire