Six second stories: How nonprofits can use Vine and Instagram video

August 13, 2013

At Resource Media, we’ve seen firsthand the power of pictures to change hearts and minds. Our experiences in the field inspired us to explore the brain science behind visual communications, and we published research highlights and top tips in our Visual Storytelling Guide.

But, while still photos can speak volumes, nothing quite captures a moment like video. This #standwithwendy Vine still gives me goosebumps, although I’ve watched it a dozen times. It communicates emotion, and emotion drives engagement.

Brain science reveals that our decisions are based more in feelings than on reason, and videos have a way of moving us that words and static photos can’t quite match.

While online video isn’t a new tool in the nonprofit communications arsenal, it has grown vastly more accessible with the introduction of Vine and Instagram video, which allow people to shoot and share short films with their smartphones. Both are tailor-made for social media, and they limit video length to 6 and 15 seconds, respectively.

While we think it’s a great idea to train field staff to shoot short video at hearings, marches, and other events, organizations can also tap their community to help document news in the making.

Here are a few examples of mobile videos to get your creative juices flowing:

  • GreenpeaceUSA used Vine during Oceans Week to connect the ocean to the air we all breathe.
  • LeadNow used Instagram video to show the scale of the Syncrude tar sands mine in Alberta, Canada.
  • Human Rights Campaign used Vine to document a protest against marriage equality, and climate activists filmed a Keystone XL demonstration.
  • Assemblymember Jared Huffman turned to Vine to underscore the importance of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

For a comparison of Vine and Instagram video platforms, and ideas for how nonprofit organizations can use mobile video to tell their stories, check out our tipsheet.

Nicole Lampe