The video revolution is nigh

By now you’ve probably heard this expression to the point of cliché, but I repeat it nonetheless because it is just that true and that important:

A picture is worth a thousand words, and now, a video is worth a thousand pictures.

Recently, Twitter announced its new video-sharing application, “Vine,” which allows users to record six seconds worth of footage off their smartphones (iPhone for now, Android coming soon). Although it’s a separate app that still has some rhino beetle-sized bugs to squish out, Vine has the potential to kick social media up a notch and keep things fresh for 2013.

Remember that not too long ago — the latter half of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 — we were discussing the growth of visual media sharing in terms of the “picture revolution,” specifically with regards to Instagram and Pinterest, two of the fastest-growing user networks in the past few years. It was predicated then that the natural evolution of picture sharing was video sharing.

Given the continued vigor of smartphone sales worldwide, video sharing is looking more and more feasible every single day. Twitter, with its monstrous account base numbering in the hundreds of millions, is a prime candidate to spearhead this advancement. Although Vine has a rather basic functionality currently, the app integrates with Facebook — a prudent move on Twitter’s part to extend Vine’s reach into Zuckerberg’s billion-plus network.

For now though, Vine is more or less in the phase-three experimental stage — just ready for market, but not quite for mass distribution. My first words of advice: be ready. The video revolution is dawning upon us, and Twitter is eager to be its leader.

It’s a little too early to write up a how-to guide for an app that has not been fully fleshed out or tested to its maximum capacity, but I can offer the counsel that Vine will thrive on dynamic visuals and unbridled creativity.

Think of all the YouTube videos out there and specifically the ones that have gone viral. They’re catchy. They’re exciting. They’re fun. The same psychological principles that have worked for past social media iterations will also work for Vine. Already, we are seeing the Twitter progeny software being used in a GIF-like manner — continuous panning shots, quick action clips, montages, two-person intercuts and stop motion.

The sky is the limit for where hotels can find uses for Vine. You can run a promotion where guests record a snippet of their stay in exchange for a coupon of some sorts. Or, your chef could post footage of the daily specials, from saucepan to finished dish in six seconds or less. Just completed some renovations? No problem. Just grab your smartphone and get a full panoramic of the new guestrooms in full.

I strongly believe using Vine to market your hotel will work because it is a chance to candidly express your brand’s character. Unlike photographs, which, as almost everyone knows these days, can be heavily retouched before being uploaded to a website, videos recorded directly onto the smartphone are a far different case. People trust cellular cameras as a source of honest visual material.

The key word there is candid. Every employee must be retrained to understand that capturing events around your property “in the moment” can have a greater impact than prepackaged promotional sales videos (which can be stellar in their own right).

Also, know that as the video revolution spreads its wings, the wiggle room for errors is rapidly vanishing. Every guest now has the chance to accurately substantiate their qualms with your property sans words. Videos can work in your favor, but they can also be extremely damaging if your operations and guest services aren’t up to snuff.

Personally, I’m excited to see where Vine is headed. Like millions of other avid social media users around the world, I’ll be testing this app out over the next few months and be back with more in due time!