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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 17, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo sent a Tweet containing a quick, 6-second video with the message: "Steak tartare in six seconds."

Short video loops may be the next big deal for Twitter


Sometimes the best innovation in digital media isn't the invention of anything new, just a new way of doing things.

When I saw the headline leading to BuzzFeed's article by Matt Buchanan on the latest evolution of animated GIFs, I have to admit I was only a little intrigued … but as I thought more about it, this is a pretty big deal.

On Wednesday, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo sent a Tweet containing a quick, 6-second video with the message: "Steak tartare in six seconds."

The technology that makes all of this work isn't anything new, but the access and way in which it could work has the potential to be a game-changer in the social media world.

Before cell phones were used to take pictures, small cameras are and were doing the same digital work. One could always have a digital photo and email it to share with friends and family members. However, when Facebook came around, it was built in a way that made doing it a bit easier. MySpace was doing it too, but Facebook made the push and investment to get a larger audience. Since the early days of the internet, people could create quick updates on blog sites, but when Twitter came out, it simply made it easier and faster … it didn't create anything new. But the innovation and speed made it new.

Instagram is popular, but it was never the first way to take, filter and share photos.

Now, Twitter is hoping the next innovation is just the evolution of a micro YouTube. For making and sharing short looping videos, the media company is playing with a product called Vine.

The video posted Wednesday didn't have a play button, it didn't have to take time to buffer and it just sits there, like a tweet or Instagram photo does. A quick, looping Vine video can be watched on a cell phone without a YouTube app, it's just posted there. Vine seems like it could be the next best thing.

Plus, it's short in length, which makes it feel like a tweet. There's a reason that tweets are limited to 140 characters, it is meant to be short. Twitter is a micro blog, and with Vine, it has the opportunity to be a micro multimedia site. Imagine quick clips of newsworthy events now shared easily with this tool on Twitter. The Library of Congress is now indexing each and every tweet ever made because of the historical significant events that were chronicled on the medium. The revolts in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere were coordinated with Twitter and people used the social media site to help deploy emergency assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Now, small videos taken during these events can help tell the story.

TUESDAY NIGHT TROUBLE: A day after ABC shelved a Tuesday night show, FOX follows with a Tuesday change up of its own. "Ben and Kate," a show about a brother and sister that move in together with her young daughter, had pretty weak ratings since its premier. It probably didn't help that Fox's "New Girl" has also been sluggish in the ratings.

"Ben and Kate" joins ABC's "Don't Trust The B in Apt. 23" in limbo, which these days usually ends up with cancellation. The show "Pan Am" was pulled off the air last year and never officially canceled either. And I'm guessing we won't see that one back anytime soon either.

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