Vine 1.1 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Twitter’s Vine, an iOS app that lets you impulse-share short five-second clips, may be struggling to take off, but that’s not stopping the popular micro-blogging service from issuing regular updates that add more functionality. One of my main gripes with Vine is its inability to use a front-facing camera.

That omission right there kills some potentially interesting self-portrait videos. No more, as Twitter today issued Vine version 1.1 which adds support for your iPhone’s front-facing camera…

Vine engineer Kristian Bauer wrote in a blog post Tuesday that shooting video with a front-facing camera requires tapping the button in the bottom-left when creating a post

“You can switch back and forth between the regular and front-facing camera as many times as you want,” he notes.

Another nice-to-have: @user mentions.

This allows you to tag people in your posts, which is particularly important for clips that want to go viral.

Mentioning a user is a simple matter of typing his or her @username and selecting the name among the suggestions that pop up. If you’ve ever used mentions in a Twitter app, you’ll feel right at home.

People who get mentioned in your posts will receive a notification in their Activity tab. When you tag someone, that person’s Vine profile gets automatically linked to your post’s caption.

Also new in Vine 1.1 is improved people search and fixes for various crashes and minor bugs.

Vine is vailable free on the App Store for your iPhone and iPod touch. We’re still holding out breath for an iPad edition of the software.