Mike Isaac

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In Wake of Vid-stagram, Vine’s Latest Update Could Spur Growth

Vine, the Twitter-owned video sharing application, announced on Wednesday a significant update to its iOS mobile application, just two weeks after Instagram unveiled its video product for the first time.

Among the improvements, Vine will now let users choose whether or not they want posts to be public or private (think: Instagram’s protected accounts feature).

The camera has been redesigned with the addition of “grid, focus and ghost tools,” which Vine said will make capturing video much easier than before.

But perhaps the biggest, most important feature is one that isn’t quite so played-up: “Re-vining.” Think of a re-vine like a re-tweet. You’ll now be able to re-broadcast the Vine videos you see from the folks you follow in your stream.

Simple? Perhaps. But it’s also the easiest way to boost engagement — and potentially growth — on the fledgling video-sharing network. Retweeting breeds potential for virality, and virality can only help spur growth.

That’s certainly important in the wake of Instagram’s video launch, a move that essentially pits the 130-million-strong network of Instagram users directly with Vine, which is literally one-tenth Instagram’s size.

The caveat is, as I argued last week, we still don’t know who the supposed “winner” is, as it’s far too early to tell (and any comparisons aren’t exactly apples to apples, as Instagram is photos+video, while Vine is strictly video).

Also worth noting: Vine introduced 15 new thematic channels for users to browse from the explore screen, as well as an “On the Rise” category which highlights the people who are just starting to capture the attention of folks on the Vine network. If users decide to bite, these are likely additional ways of surfacing content outside of traditional hashtags. And again, more new content in users’ faces means more potential circulation and engagement.

The new update is available on iOS beginning today. Some features will roll out to Android users later this afternoon, with the full update to come to Android next week.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald