Six Seconds of Fame
Vine’s announcement that they’ll be closing their virtual, metaphorical doors came as a surprise to many. Across several social media networks, people are bringing back their favourite vines from during its short-lived legacy—most, if not all, from before 2015. On the app itself, there has been an outpouring of tearful goodbyes and creative farewells under the hashtag #lastpost. Almost all of them come from Viners who haven’t made a video in months.
The app’s death comes after a pretty rich life, having overflowed with young talent. It wasn’t as if all this app was good for was accidents caught on camera and loud noises as punchlines. There were the #VineMagic-type videos where people used creative video editing to do “tricks,” vines that managed to cram an entire storyline into six seconds through quick editing, and then the ones that flexed their comedic timing to a tee. The six-second limit to the videos became an incentive rather than a hindrance, and even cut-off sentences became the Vine norm for comedy.
While sudden, Vine’s collapse was a slow and inevitable one. Vine’s heyday was sometime in 2014, and after that, it only proceeded to slip slowly out of the collective consciousness. By 2016, the app itself was largely inactive.
When the app first launched, older generations expressed concerns about how it meant that young people could no longer watch a video longer than six seconds because our attention spans were that short. That much is horseshit, because by the time of its demise, most popular users with millions of loops had since moved on to YouTube. Vine even tried a feature in which videos could be extended beyond six seconds, but that pretty much defeated the purpose of the app in the first place. By the middle of last year, it felt like people had already outgrown the capabilities of six seconds, going on to making full-length vlogs and podcasts. Two years ago, views of any given popular vine jumped by tens in real-time as I watched and looped them. Now, they stand quiet and still until I come along, and then the views tick ahead only once, seemingly after much effort.
I had a great love for Vine, wasting hours at a time surfing for new Viners to watch or rewatching old ones to the point of memorization. However, I can’t deny that it attracted a cesspool of inflammatory preteens and cliquey Los Angeles socialites who partied together and made vines with Hollywood-level production (read as: unnecessary cameras and glamourous clothing). The most popular Viners were also the richest, and they all made and plagiarized videos together. Some of these Viners even tried to threaten Vine to pay them to stay on the app at one point shortly before the app’s closure.
When the comments weren’t tags, they were worse than the ones found on YouTube, full of rude remarks. A recent one that comes to mind is Chinese Viner James White talking about his father’s fight with cancer. His vines were met with several comments that said something like, “Didn’t you just die in The Walking Dead?” in reference to the violent death of a Korean character, Glenn, who incidentally looks nothing like him. Of course, racism, misogyny and homophobia is rampant on the internet, that much is for certain. But something about Vine especially felt hideously like high school.
Regardless, Vine will be missed. It reinvented Internet video, even if only for a short amount of time. The platform launched several youths into fame as well as acted as a great tool for people to explore their creativity, sense of humour and identity. I’ll miss the stupid puns, the dark punchlines, the crappy vape videos (or the Bonglord) and even the six-second One Direction edits. However, if Pornhub really does end up buying Vine out, then I guess we can still keep on doing it for the vine!comments powered by Disqus