Facebook just released their newest app, Riff, a collaborative video app that lets you create video clips, share them with friends, and see what new clip they add-on to it. You can watch videos made by friends, or join a video by adding your own clip. Riff is trying to let users crowdsource the next viral video. Think about viral video phenomenon The Harlem Shake. Sure it was shot lived, but more importantly, it was idea that was easy to copy, contribute and share. Riff seems to have it figured out by letting you contribute and share in a single app, making the entire production of these video memes as easy as possible.
To Riff, (let’s go ahead and make it a verb, right now. If it’s successful, the masses will make it a verb anyways.) simply shoot a 20 second video in Riff. You can’t upload external video. You have to shoot the video in Riff, similar to the way Vine operates. Then add a creative title to the clip like “Crazy Cat Frenzy” or “Best Super Villain Face.” The best kind of titles, according to the developer, give the users instructions on exactly what to contribute. Unlike Vine where users can break up a video into multiple shots, Riffs are shot in a single take. If, as the original creator, you don’t like someone’s contribution, you can easily snip it from the video thread at the push of a button.
In a departure from other social media sharing, Riff isn’t about commenting or liking. In fact, Riff doesn’t even offer that option. The impromptu and roughly cut videos are designed to feel inviting. It’s easy to add a Riff to Facebook, and all of the contributors can be auto-tagged.
Riff is one of many new apps developed by Facebook. Facebook’s Rooms is an app that lets you create standalone, invite-only forums to delve deeply into topics outside of your News Feed. Some of Facebook’s apps have already bombed, like Slingshot. So even though Riff has all the carefully crafted makings of a popular app, it could just as well sink like a stone.