Remember when YouTube was born? Anyone? Anyone?
OK, let me refresh your memory; back in 2006, it was pretty much wall-to-wall grainy home videos and bad Gnarls Barkley covers. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then; with over a billion unique users, YouTube has evolved into a monster, with something for pretty much everyone. It’s also home to an awful lot of book trailers – publishers often have their own channels and post everything from reviews to author interviews. Some of us have put up clips of themselves reading extracts from their latest book. But if YouTube is the daddy of all content vehicles, then Vine (Twitter’s mobile video-sharing app) is its illegitimate baby. And it’s growing up fast.
At first glance, Vine looks a lot like YouTube only shorter; it’s a six second video clip in a never-ending loop designed to melt your brain. But get past those twerking tutorials (note for those unfamiliar with this term: imagine a jerky Haka being done by people in teeny-tiny hotpants to Crazy in Love by Beyoncé and you’ve got the picture) and there’s some inspired creative content. Vine has over thirteen million users and they’re a hungry bunch – like tech-savvy locusts, they consume fast and move onto the next thing. If you’re creative and clever, that next thing could be you.
Alright, so one six-second video isn’t going to make your book a bestseller, but it does offer you something new and different to offer your readers, especially when you take into account that a whopping 55% of today’s web traffic is video. At the very least it might generate some elusive word-of-mouth buzz. Although it helps if you are a fabulous illustrator – see this lovely vine by Benji Davies for his picture book, The Storm Whale – all you actually need is a camera phone, the Vine app and a bit of imagination. I plan to create a series of Vines to promote my Cassidy Bond series next year and I’m using what’s already out there as inspiration. Check out Meaghan Cignoli, a NYC photographer who is now a full-time professional Vine-ographer, for ideas.
Thankfully, it appears the twerking is entirely optional.