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Say What? Huh? Sorry, Time Is Up.

I have something really important to tell you about.  Do you have six seconds?

It seems that the ever shrinking video and sound bite has now been reduced to a mere six seconds, so choose your words and images carefully if you want to impart a message to another through this media.  Vine, a mobile app owned by Twitter that enables its users to create and post video clips that can be shared or embedded on social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook, has attracted an estimated 13 million users who feel they can tell their story in just six seconds.  We all are accustomed to those 15 and 30 second commercial messages that hardly allow us enough time to sneak a look away and grab a snack, chug a gulp or click a switch and let’s face it, a political message longer than 30 seconds is just plain tooth- grinding painful.  Though, oddly enough, Vine appears to be achieving notable success.

Unruly, the video tech company that tracks, measures and predicts the success of more conventional online video advertising, is going to do the same for Vine and will offer up the Vine Academy to help advertisers create content designed to motivate and educate in 6-ticks or less.  Those abbreviated messages would then be distributed through a new proprietary, Unruly Vine app and social video player to a theorized 978 million users.  Of course this premise is largely dependent on advertisers willingness to invest their marketing spend on creating a message that consumers may come to regard as a little less annoying than a common house fly.  After all, such a brief script may be as effective in getting a prospective audience’s attention as slamming a door.

However, the future of micro brevity may be short lived by the rise in popularity of Instagram, the competing and relatively long-winded, online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.  After launch in October 2010, the service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012.  Clearly, at twice the time length, it is leading the pittance contest.

The future of either platform, as a viable commercial marketing and advertising tool, will be determined on how well the abbreviated content is received by consumers and how valid measurements of their effectiveness are perceived by marketers and media professionals.  In an era where media audiences are being carpet bombed from all points in the universe, weary consumers may consider the projected billion, pop sized messages as little more than just unwelcome noise.

Let’s all take a deep breath and smell the roses.  Oops, sorry times up.

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