60. Did animated GIFs take Vine’s market opportunity?

The conversation around the role of open protocols in technology is relatively inaccessible for non-technologists. The idea that no one owns the Internet or the Blockchain is fairly understandable. But how that actually works is much more complicated.

I have an easier time thinking about file formats (e.g. PDF and JPEG). I can get my mind around the idea that, over time, the software development community adopted different formats and built the tools to create and read files that fit the specifications of that format.

I was prompted to think about this today when looking at this article:

I love animated GIFs. I think they represent an immensely powerful medium for creativity and expression. As a file format, their popularity has grown rapidly over the past 3–4 years.

I would argue that the popularization of animated GIFs took a big bite out of Vine’s market opportunity. A GIF can do a lot of what a 6-second Vine video can do. It creates a similar set of creative constraints and forces a similar efficiency of communication. But it does that in a format that is nearly universal and therefore extremely portable. I offer that primarily as an anecdotal observation. A quick look at Google Trends adds a thought-provoking perspective though. And in general it adds another case study to the open source versus company-owned conversation.

Note to reader: This is day 60 of 92 in my commitment to write for 30 minutes each day from October 1 through the end of 2015. Previous posts can be found here.

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