Vimeo is a website where users can share and watch videos online.
Vimeo was created in 2004 by filmmakers wanting to share their videos online. It is interesting to note that Vimeo was established before its counterpart, YouTube, which was established in February 2005. One of Vimeo's founders is Zach Klein, a blogger and now CEO of DIY.
Vimeo has three types of membership: Basic, Plus, and PRO. The Basic membership provides users with simple privileges, such as 500MB of video storage and 1 high-definition video each week, and 10 video uploads per day. The Plus membership increases privileges, giving users 5GB of storage per week and changing all videos from standard quality to HD quality. While the Basic membership is free, the Vimeo Plus membership costs $9.95/month. The PRO membership ups the allowance even more, with 20GB per week available for video storage. Accounts can also be set to “Private Mode,” which prevents videos from showing up on Vimeo’s actual website. Vimeo PRO is best used for businesses that need a host website for entrepreneurial videos. Vimeo PRO is also significantly more expensive than Plus, at a cost of $199/year.
Vimeo offers a variety of features that are more unique to the site: Creative Commons, Vimeo On Demand, Perks, Music Store, and Video School. Creative Commons issues copyright licenses to users for their videos. This helps reduce the legal problems which accompany sharing videos and "derivative works," or creations influenced by another's work. There are four types of licenses: Attribution License, Share Alike License, Non-Commercial License, and No Derivative Works License. Each allows for different use of the videos, such as allowing other users to reproduce similar works or preventing them from doing so at all. Vimeo On Demand allows users to sell their videos and receive roughly 90% of the revenue gained. These videos are sold in HD format and can be viewed on any device. Users can also decide on their own price for each of their videos. This feature is available only to Vimeo PRO members. Vimeo Perks provides discounts to Vimeo Plus and PRO users on cameras, equipment, and software. It enlists companies to participate in this program and help give discounts to its loyal users.  Vimeo's own Music Store gathers music that is open to use by members without the hassle of copyrights and leases. Some tracks are free of charge through Creative Commons licenses, while others have small costs depending on whether intended for personal or professional use. Members can also create their own soundtracks by using the SmartSound studio. Video School provides guidance to Vimeo users through tutorials and advice on how to make the best videos. For complete beginners, Vimeo offers a series of Video 101 tutorials that teach the basics of video creating and sharing. Vimeo Lessons offer tutorials for specific video techniques and tools. Users can take advantage of this platform to learn and improve their video editing skills. Video School especially helps to establish a community of educated video makers, as it looks to provide all users with an equal opportunity to make successful creations.
Participation and Community
Vimeo not only works as a platform to share videos with the world, but also has its own community nestled within the site. Members can form groups based around common interests and video preference. The group dashboard displays videos that have to do with the category of interest, the rules of the group, as well as provides links to forums for group members to hold discussions. There exists a group moderator to oversee group activity and members can add their friends to the community.
Not only does Vimeo embrace community for its members, but it also adds its employees into its online community. Site visitors can click on the picture of any Vimeo employee to see their profile and more about them. This breaks down the barrier between employee and consumer. In a more general sense, members can "Connect" with others by following their channels and watching their videos. Each video on Vimeo has space for likes and comments, so that users can express their thoughts about the creation. There is also a site-wide forum open to any Vimeo user to discuss videos, learn new techniques, or suggest improvements to Vimeo's site as a whole. The Help forum is by far the most frequently used, with almost 48K posts within it. Other forum topics include Feature Requests, API, Cameras and Editing, Screening Room, Festivals and Contests, and Wanted and Offered.
This sense of community participation is key to making Vimeo a welcoming online environment. As Nancy Baym says, online communities can provide friendly spaces for collaboration and communication between people with common interests. Vimeo's community encourages these relationships to form, while also providing accessible professional resources to beginning video users. This makes Vimeo an informative platform which seeks to even the playing field of all users.
Relating to Nancy Baym's Seven Key Concepts
Vimeo falls under Baym's Seven Key Concepts about technology in a few ways:
Users can interact via forums and comments on videos, which falls under the Interactivity concept. This gives Vimeo a social community as well as a place to discuss technological tools to improve users' experiences. The forums also provide textual social cues to users, in addition to visual cues through the videos that are posted in groups. These social cues though are sometimes limited because of the fact that most of the communication takes place through private messages or comments made on videos. It's hard to visually represent some emotions because most of the "talk" occurs behind text that isn't immediate unlike a Twitter page.
The interactivity of the site is also represented through the use of comments. Because users can easily voice their support and their love for certain videos through text that is added directly under the videos. Users of the site can also express their positive reaction to a video through the use of the "like" options where videos can then display the amount of likes they received which correlates directly to the amount of positive feedback there is for that same video.
The temporal structure of Vimeo is also significant, as it has both a synchronous and asynchronous communication structure. The forums act as more of a synchronous, real-time conversation, whereas submissions of help requests and comments may e more asynchronous and take longer to receive a response.
Depending on the copyrights, some videos may be more replicable than others. Through Creative Commons licenses, Vimeo users can copy and share others' work to an extent. Vimeo also has potentially permanent storage, as uploaded videos remain on the site for an indefinite amount of time. The Reach and Mobility of Vimeo is important, as these both depend on the memberships that the video owners have. The size of an audience and privacy for a video completely depends on the user, as Vimeo offers the chance to make videos public to promote creations or private to only a selected group of viewers. Additionally, many videos are accessible from any platform (computer, tablet, mobile phone, etc.). But these videos are created by Plus and PRO users. Basic memberships do not provide mobile versions of videos, making the mobility more restricted.
- Baym, Nancy. Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Polity, 2010.
- .Baym, Nancy. Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Polity, 2010.