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Last updated: December 18. 2013 1:52PM - 495 Views
Devon Hailey Contributing columnist



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The holidays are just around the corner, and U.S. Cellular is encouraging smartphone users to get into the holiday spirit early using two of the most popular mobile apps: Instagram and Vine.


With an estimated combined total of 170 million users, Instagram and Vine are now leading the way in mobile video. Originally created for sharing photos with various filter options, Instagram launched video capabilities in June 2013. Both apps capture video with different time limits – Vine only allows six seconds, while Instagram allows 15 seconds. This limit pushes users to showcase their creativity through shortened video posts, including skits and stop-motion shorts. Both apps allow for additional sharing of videos to Facebook and Twitter.


It doesn’t sound like much, but you can actually capture a lot in these short amounts of time. We want to inspire users to capture fun, meaningful footage they can share with family and friends this holiday season. Even if you’re not physically close, your mobile device can help you share better family moments.


Cutting-edge devices like the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are equipped with high megapixel rear-and-front facing cameras, shooting modes, filters and editing tools, so it’s easy for users to shoot, edit and upload their videos from the palm of their hands.


Here are a few ways you can spread the holiday cheer using Instagram or Vine:


Share holiday recipes. Let your friends and family see the behind-the-scenes work as you whip up your favorite holiday meals or desserts. Recipes on Vine and Instagram often show preparation or presentation tutorials. You can take your followers through step-by-step directions so they can try it on their own.


Send holiday messages. Calling your loved ones is always important, but try mixing in personalized Vine or Instagram videos you can send and tag them in. With access to the 4G LTE network, you can upload and share your greetings quickly, even if you’re away on a holiday vacation.


Show off holiday lights. Bring the photos of holiday lights strung around your home or neighborhood to life by making a video of them. You could start a time lapse video of you putting them in place or showcase any special effects.


Follow hashtags for promotions. There are a number of brands that utilize Vine and Instagram to promote their products or specials, especially around the holidays. Search for their verified accounts and see what they have to offer. Some brands even ask their users to create videos based on one of their hashtags, so they can select winners to claim prizes.


When you are away from home and want to download new apps, it’s easy with the 4G LTE network, with data speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 3G. If you have any questions about downloading or using apps, stop by U.S. Cellular’s next Device Workshop in Clinton on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. at 360 Northeast Blvd.


(Editor’s note: Devon Hailey is store manager for U.S. Cellular in Clinton.)


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