But it got much, much worse when Vine happened.
What is Vine, you ask? Well, if you're not in the know (like moi), Vine is an iPhone app owned by Twitter, similar to Instagram, but instead of posting photos, you post videos. Teensy videos. Six seconds, max. But the twist is, with just the touch of your thumb--while you record--you can cut the video so that the result is a collage of several even teensier clips.
The thing about Vine is that once you starting using it, everywhere you look (especially if you live in a visually gorgeous place like Rome, what can I say), you see an opportunity to make a Vine. Strolling through a particularly picturesque piazza at twilight? Vine it. In St. Peter's Square while white smoke is pouring out of the Sistine Chapel chimney? Vine it. Waiting for the number 23 bus while wearing fabulous tights? Vine it. Cooking up a scrumptious meal? You get the idea.
They are tiny peeks into a friend or a stranger's world, and I am afraid that I'm addicted, both to making my own and to watching others'.
Just about anything, with a little practice, can be turned into an aesthetically pleasing Vine. Except maybe excessive use of pets and babies, and trust me, there are a lot of Vines like that out there. Not that I have anything against pets or babies; they're just not that interesting in videos unless they are yours. That is, of course, unless the pet is a cat who barks or the baby is shrieking with laughter at someone ripping paper. That would be OK.
The best part about Vine is its length. Six seconds. I mean, it's brilliant! You can watch anything for six seconds. And in that sense it's the video version of Twitter: six seconds instead of 140 characters, perfect for our generation's unprecedentedly short attention span.
I just learned how to embed my Vines on my blog [pats self on back], although for some reason I can't seem to get the audio to work. I'm still a complete beginner, so bear with me!
Here are a few of my favorites. The star of these mini-videos? Rome, of course. Not that six seconds could ever do her justice.
Piazza Farnese by night
Piazza Navona at twilight
A walk from Trastevere to the Ghetto
If you too are on Vine, you can follow me at @ThePinesOfRome
Because Vine only works (for now) on the iPhone Vine app, this link will only work from an iPhone that has Vine installed on it. Hopefully that won't always be the case! In the meantime, you know I won't be able to resist posting my favorite Vines here, so stay tuned!