YouTube vs. Vine: Alphacat Breaks It Down

/ Feb 14, 2014


As a career YouTuber, there’s a “pressure to be in the know” when it comes to other new media outlets. Rhett & Link noted this in conjunction with Alphacat’s (real name: Iman Crosson) explosion on Vine in their most recent episode of “Ear Biscuits.”

Since the Vine format differs from YouTube, allowing only six seconds of looping footage, the tactics for gaining success on the app must differ, too. Crossman, who has gathered about 2.4 million followers on Vine compared to his 600,000 YouTube subscribers, explained to Rhett & Link how he approached the new platform.

Initially, Crosson “watched [Vine] knowing what could potentially happen,” having observed some similarities between the new app and “the original YouTube platform.” Just around when Crosson started keeping an eye on the app, however, Instagram came out with Instagram Video. People thought this was sure to be the end of Vine, but what ended up happening, according to Crosson, was that “everyone flocked to Instagram for like a day, and they came right back to Vine.”

Perhaps this was due to the similarities Crosson noticed between Vine and YouTube, where he’d already won recognition. “Just like YouTube,” he told Rhett & Link, “the process [of Vine] was the same,” in which you started to do your own thing, then eventually collaborated with others, and finally “sprayed” each other’s videos.

The obvious difference, of course, lies in the length of the videos and your ability to edit them. “With Vine, you got six seconds, so you always want to end on a punch, and you want it to be relatable,” Crosson explained. “You don’t have time to build a backstory or tell an elaborate, highbrow joke…you have to get to the point, [whereas] with YouTube, you have more time to create a story arc.”

Since Vine ended up “getting flooded” by users, it has seen an evolution similar to YouTube, according to Crosson. This has led to “a lot of branding deals going on now” with people like Crosson who are popular on the platform. The key to maintaining a popular Vine account, per Crosson, is to keep only the really good videos on your account. It’s common practice for users to watch the Vine count of a new video they post for the first few minutes, and if it doesn’t pick up enough likes, delete the video.

The short form allows for a much faster response time than YouTube, but it also allows you to delete bad videos. If you delete a Vine, “you’re not losing much,” since editing is a non-factor (at least with the initial version of Vine) and the footage is so brief. On YouTube, if your five-minute music video gets fewer views than desired, well, so be it.

For more on a Vine veteran’s insights into the comparison with YouTube, listen to the latest “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”

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