Creative types of all ages looking for a new way to explore the world on their devices beyond Instagram might want to check out two mobile applications I've recently discovered.
Both Vine and Cinemagram are visual apps with a social media twist that allow users to create animated images and share with friends they follow — Vine for looping videos and Cinemagram for animated photos. They are free on the iTunes store, so they are easy for users to try separately and see the differences for themselves.
Both offer glimpses into another person's daily adventures. Both let people follow others, scroll through their posts and comment on them in a format similar to Instagram.
Vine, from Vine Labs and now owned by Twitter, involves taking a few seconds of video that shows a slice of your day — “life in motion,” as its description states. When you post the videos, they loop over and over when displayed on screen. Vine appears to be growing in popularity as the next social media “thing,” and scrolling through the videos is strangely addicting.
For example, the University of Oklahoma Athletic Department, under the “Oklahoma Sooners” Vine account, has looping video shots of the women's basketball team celebrating on the bus, the football team at practice and a gymnast doing a mat routine. App users get a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action.
And Cinemagram, from Factyle Inc., lets people easily create animated photos known as cinemagraphs, where one part of the photo is animated while the rest of it remains still. I learned about this app from Cimarron Middle School Principal Cordell Ehrich, who notes that this is an app that encourages students who are “digital natives” to be creative in a positive way. The app even has a setting that lets the animation play both forward and backward, he said.
Cinemagram “is just fun because it's playful, but it's still something that's challenging,” he said.
While exploring this app, I've seen cinemagraphs that include a shadow moving while people in it are frozen, a cup suspended in midair and a soda being drunk backwards, with no person slurping the straw.
Vine and Cinemagram currently are only available on iOS devices like the iPhone or iPad, but if you have an Android device, take a look at Flixel for cinemagraphs, or “living photos” as Flixel calls them. And Android users can see Vine videos with the Vine Flow app, but they can't yet create them.