twitter-292994_640The competition between Vine and Instagram isn’t really about Vine and Instagram. To better understand what the competition is truly about, and what’s driving it at the root, you need to first understand what those two companies actually are, and who they are proxies for. Once you’ve got that under your belt, the recent tussle between the two acquires interesting new shades of meaning.

What Are Vine And Instagram?

Vine and Instagram are both social media platforms that specialize in image and video sharing. That’s of pivotal importance because the development of services like these have forced both Facebook and Twitter to update their own services. In the face of these image heavy social media, the top two old style social media sites were beginning to look like pale cast shadows, and were forced to innovate or potentially die. In the fast moving world of social media, it is death to look out of date.

But, Follow The Ownership

The interesting thing to note here though is that Vine is actually owned by Twitter, and Instagram by Facebook, which brings us back to the lead in for this piece. The competition between Vine and Instagram isn’t really about Vine and Instagram at all. It’s more of a proxy war between Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook has a commanding lead over all other social media sites. It’s a lead that Twitter is struggling mightily with as it tries to find its way to profitability. Vine, on the other hand, has been furiously pummeling Instagram in terms of recent updates. Two recent upgrades, spaced only a week apart, have tilted the playing field in favor of Vine.

Making Vine Easier

Last week’s update made it easier to share Vines. For people who utilize platforms like these, ease of use is everything, and a big part of the ease of use equation is the ability to share your creations on other social networks. Vine followed that up this week by introducing a whole new raft of editing tools that dramatically increase what you can do, and how you can “pimp” your videos before you share them with the world.

These kinds of tools aren’t developed in a vacuum, and they’re not developed overnight, so this isn’t some kind of spur of the moment, opportunistic ambush, but part of a long term, systemic plan, and kudos to the folks at Vine for having the persistence of vision to see it through.

Two Giants Face Up

As to the broader picture and the subtext beneath the Vine versus Instagram sparring match, Twitter has an enormous interest in winning this battle given the degree of difficulty they’re facing catching up with Facebook in a head to head match up. The idea is that since the two social media companies are using Vine and Instagram in a proxy war, a victory here will enhance the bottom line, direct and indirect, of the victor. This will increase the spoils both in terms of market share and profits.

Battles fought at the margins like these are the things that wind up shaping the topography of the social media landscape. It’s fascinating to watch the story unfold, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the longer term.

In the meantime, both of these ever improving services offer great ways to extend your social media marketing into the all important visual arena.

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