A Eulogy to Our Six Seconds of Fame
Here lies our beloved and precious Vine, social media platform for all things remixed, relatable and real. The app was pronounced dead on Oct. 27, euthanized by its parent company, Twitter, as a casualty of shrinking profit margins.
After Vine’s three year stream of endlessly entertaining six-second experiments — mashups, montages, and entire storylines — now that Twitter’s killed the project, we digital natives have a sore void to fill. Vine redefined the way our generation consumes media. Fatigued and unimpressed by the high production videos of YouTube, the pretentiously artsy Vimeo and the horror of Twitter, for us, Vine existed as the DIY, happily unphotogenic medium between the GIF and the video, providing low-commitment, high-entertainment spreadable content. Its 6 second limit was a ruthless format, but at the same time was a crucible of creativity that birthed a diverse multitude of memes — allowing us to bravely ask exactly “what are thoooose!?,” challenging us to deeply reflect on whether our “pussy pops severely,” and asking us “why we always lying?” Nnnnohmygod, why the fuck we lying? Nothing would be “on fleek” without Vine. “Who is she?” Now, the world might never know.
Unsurprisingly, Vine’s death knells tolled months ago when its top power users began migrating their corporate-sponsored content to Facebook, Facebook-owned Instagram and Vine’s kinky younger sister Snapchat. These competing platforms gave users and ad-buyers what Vine couldn’t: the commercial infrastructure to make some cold, hard cash. Once Facebook and Youtube offered Vine’s most popular users longer videos and broader access to fans, the die was cast.
Vine consistently ranked top 50 in entertainment apps last year, but quickly withered in the hyperfast app-marketplace when Facebook and Snapchat quickly overtook the content-hosting game. Vine’s former top users, bored once Vine lost its sheen, simply flooded to its competitors who dumped funds into establishing liaisons between corporate brand deals and their influencer economy. Twitter cited its focus on native live streaming and on its pet-app Periscope in its decision to pull the plug on the micro-video phenom, Vine.
On top of that, GIPHY, popular platform for all reappropriated reaction GIFs, reported 100 million active users a day in its first ever State of the GIPHY address on Medium, solidifying Vine’s status as passé app of yesteryear.
Not that GIPHY has totally turned a cold shoulder on its predecessor; now, GIPHY has offered Vine users the opportunity to transfer their six-second creations over to be GIF-ified, hosted forever on the platform once Twitter unceremoniously nixes the Vine homepage for good.
Not one platform captured the post-4chan Internet’s dry, absurdist witticism as Vine did, barring the subterranean reaches of Tumblr. Vine’s uniquely bite-sized format made it inhospitable to trolls and shallow opportunists; six seconds simply isn’t enough time for a demagogue to rant and Vine’s tricky user interface meant that the barrier of entry favored the most enterprising and young users, while filtering new-nazi trolls, bumbling baby videos and yuppy bores. But it still remained one of the most democratic content platforms on the Internet, allowing the most talented and uncontrived amateurs to rise to the top of the trending list. The best Vines were the ones their creators never meant to blow up, echoing the DIY hilarity of an older, simpler Internet without the sponsored-video influence of the corporate shill, when the most absurdly funny content got the attention it deserved, not the attention it bought.
So here’s to you, Vine, for keeping a place on the Internet for true creatives, for the weirdos, for the advertiser-unfriendly. Goodnight, sweet prince.