From FYSE 1396: Digital Media Literacy
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Vimeo is a website where users can share and watch videos online.[1]

Brief History

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.[2] One of Vimeo's founders is Zach Klein, a blogger and now CEO of DIY.[3]


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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

Special Features

Vimeo offers a variety of features that are more unique to the site: Creative Commons, Vimeo On Demand, Perks, Music Store, and Video School.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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. [10] 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.[11] Video School provides guidance to Vimeo users through tutorials and advice on how to make the best videos.[12] For complete beginners, Vimeo offers a series of Video 101 tutorials that teach the basics of video creating and sharing.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] 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[21]

Vimeo falls under Nancy Baym's Seven Key Concepts about technology in a few ways:

Interactivity and Social Cues

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 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 can also express their positive reaction to a video through 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 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.

Temporal Structure and Storage

The temporal structure of Vimeo is significant as it has both a synchronous and asynchronous communication structure. Nancy Baym clarifies synchronous communication to be real-time, instant communication, while asynchronous communication takes place over a longer period of time or may be delayed.[22] The Vimeo forums act as more of a synchronous, real-time conversation, where users can communicate and expect responses soon after their posts. Submissions of help requests to Vimeo employees and comments on videos may be more asynchronous and take longer to receive a response. Both of these types of communication allow Vimeo to establish a community, however, and meet the needs of its users. Vimeo also has potentially permanent storage, as uploaded videos remain on the site for an indefinite amount of time. Vimeo does claim to delete basic membership accounts if the user fails to log in for 6 months time, but sends reminders via email to ensure the deletion of an account is correct.[23] Although this may make Vimeo's storage more temporary, the "disappearance" of videos ultimately will only happen if the user is deemed to be further unaffiliated with the site. Most videos remain on the site and are available at any point for reflection.

Replicability, Reach, and Mobility

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. Some users also allow a download option, which allows the video to be reproduced elsewhere. In this way, Vimeo also has a far reach. Since users can download the video and re-post it somewhere else, this widens the audience for the video from just Vimeo to the whole Internet. While this is a great tool, both the Reach and Mobility of Vimeo depend on the memberships that the video owners have. The size of an audience and privacy for a video can completely change due to the hopes of the user. Vimeo offers the chance to make videos public to promote creations or private to only a selected group of viewers. If a user elects his or her videos to be private, this decreases the reach of Vimeo drastically. That being said, the public videos have very far reach and also mobility. Many videos are accessible from any platform (computer, tablet, mobile phone, etc.), as Plus and PRO users automatically have mobile versions of their videos created by Vimeo. The mobility is restricted for basic membership accounts, but those videos that do have mobile versions are accessible anywhere and help spread Vimeo to reach people it may not have before. Many Vimeo users are more professional filmmakers, so the videos that go into circulation are often more thought-out than the random viral YouTube video. This puts a whole new set of videos into the media world.