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Vine: Six seconds of rubbish

I'm coining this era "the Instagram era" because it is marked by taking the good things in life and making them crappy. Music mash-ups do this, Instagram does this, and in my opinion, even Twitter manages to do this, though it is debatable whether short posts are bad or good.

Now Vine, a new iPhone app from Twitter, lets users make short videos and post them on social networks or on Vine itself. And by short, I mean short – as in six seconds short.

At first, I thought that six seconds was ridiculously short. Videographers will tell you never to make anything shorter than ten seconds. But when I saw my first Vine video, it seemed to go on forever. All I could say was "BORING!"

Indeed, I think these clips, which represent the video equivalent of the 140-character tweet, are way too long.

I played around with the idea that the video should be one second, two seconds, three seconds, four seconds, or five. After my analysis, I decided that three seconds is optimal. You can accomplish a lot with a three second video. After all, a three second video at 30 frames per second is actually 90 individual pictures!

Now if the Vine people had a clue about this, they would have begun with videos that only had 140 individual frames, which lands somewhere between four and five seconds. At least that would align with the length of a tweet. But no. Six seconds or 180 frames.

If you shoot six seconds at 24 frames per second, you hit 144 frames, but who shoots at that rate? I'm not sure Vine manages this trick. If so, kudos.

So, we are stuck with six long seconds and now the sociology kicks in. Instead of tweeting clever remarks, we will be getting six second mini-dramas. Whole stories will be told in six seconds, just watch. This nonsense will chew up as much of our time as those cat videos.

Already I've noticed that when I see a clever Vine video, I may watch it two or three times. Considering the time it takes to get to the video and to play it three times, I figure that I'll waste up to a cat-video-minute on each one.

This whole thing is idiotic. And mark my words: It will quickly deteriorate into six second commercials for Coke or Pepsi.

In the meantime, since we are so dreadfully bored by any sort of real tech news, everyone will be analysing the dumb idea and extolling its virtues. It will be huge – for a month or two.

Does it have legs? God, I hope not!