Vine is a new iPhone app that combines social media with looped videos. While they aren’t the same type of file as animated .gifs, they are used in a similar way.

For those of you that are not on the Internet during all of your free time like I am, animated .gifs are digital picture files that play a short scene over and over again. Think “Harry Potter” moving pictures, but it only runs for a short amount of time, it repeats, and the photos do not talk back.

The difference between animated .gif files and the file that Vine uses is that Vine uses actual video files. And those files will save to your iPhone whether you want them to or not.

The way you record is by placing your finger on the touch screen. It will record for as long as your finger is making contact with the screen. This means you can record one thing, take your finger off of the screen and wait a bit, then record something else as many times as fits in the time span that Vine gives you.

Because of the way Vine allows you to record, you can either capture a short video or you can record a few segments at different times that combine into one video. So, say you were at a concert and you wanted to share the experience with your friends. You could open the Vine app, record the stage, then capture something from the audience, and then back to you and your friends, and then Vine turns it into one neat, edited video.

You can also use hashtags like you do for Twitter and Instagram. Some popular hashtags on Vine include #pets, #sports, #cute, and #travel. A section of the Vine interface is reserved to just searching through tags. They even have some buttons for the popular tags mentioned above. Searching through the #pets section is my favorite because I love dogs and post many videos of my dog already. Some of the #travel section is cool too because some people really do capture the brilliance of a sunset or the trek of a hike.

Like most social media platforms, you will come across strange posts and wonder why you wasted a few seconds of your life viewing that piece of “art.” But if you weed through those posts, you will find the good ones.

Some Vine users are employing the app to create stop motion movies as well. They are just tapping the screen for their “video segments” instead of holding their finger down to record. That way, they are getting a series of snapshots instead of video segments.

It is great to share experiences with your network. In addition to having a Vine network, you can connect your Vine account to Facebook or Twitter if you want to share your videos there; they just won’t loop when viewed on those platforms.

The only issue I have with Vine is that it is only made for the iPhone. Hopefully, Vine will expand to Android and make a good iPad app as well. I think Vine will catch on with the masses once they expand their software.