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Techwars: Vine Introduces Direct Video Messages


Twitter’s Vine has introduced a feature that allows you to message other users directly via video. This adds both a direct messaging channel and video clips to its messages, a big addition to Twitter’s video app.

There is a parallel to be drawn here between Instagram’s Direct image messaging feature, obviously — and it goes hand in hand with Twitter’s renewed interest in its direct messaging channel. The allegory is interesting, as there isn’t a lot of public evidence that Direct has had any real traction. Still, it allows Twitter to experiment with video messaging in a separate silo, and it does make some sense to start with Vine before adding video messaging to Twitter.

You create a new Vine message by tapping on the messages section, recording a video and sending it off. You can send to multiple recipients, but all of the conversations are one-to-one — much like competing messaging app Snapchat. If you send to multiple people, you’ll get separate threads for each one.

Notably, you can send Vine messages directly to anyone in your address book, regardless of whether they have Vine or not. This leverages your “private graph” in a similar way to WhatsApp’s early strategy. Twitter is likely hoping that this will spur growth much in the same way.

Vine messages are split between friends and “others,” delineated by the people in your network and those outside. You can choose to only get messages from people you follow or friend in the settings section. This version of the app also introduces color selections for profiles and is available on both iOS and Android.

As far as sending messages one-to-one only, Twitter said that it was about design and user experience. “We thought a lot about the overall experience and how to create a feature that makes messaging on Vine fun, easy and unique. Ultimately, we felt that the best way to introduce Vine messages was with one-to-one conversations.”

This move by Vine doesn’t telegraph Twitter’s interest in offering its users a direct messaging channel any harder than its own efforts to build out DMs. It’s been working on that for a while now after neglecting the feature for years. But it does offer the company a way to attempt to compete with apps like Snapchat and Instagram, as well as the large messaging apps like Line, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

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