The concept of microblogging seemed at first like a pipe dream, something that could only cater to the alleged ever-diminishing attention span of the modern social media user. Yet 317 million active users later, micro-content platforms like Twitter are still going strong (at least for now).
There’s something to be said about the short exchange of a tweet, a Tumblr post, Snapchat, and the soon-to-disappear content of Vine. Character limits and short recording times coax users into streamlining their messages or concepts, something that actually requires more thought than you might expect. In a sense, these restrictions are freeing, allowing people to become equal in how much they can say or express through video.
From a Seed to a Vine
Before Vine’s official launch on January 24, 2013, creators Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll were unsure just how the platform would be used. Initially, their idea centered around creating casual glimpses of someone’s life, however, experimentation occurred very early on, ultimately setting the stage for what was to come.
Stop motion animations and time-lapse quickly became some of the most interesting posts, popularized by users like Ian Padgham and his ability to seamlessly blend the analog and digital worlds.
This platform also had its fair shares of ubiquitous memes and pop culture phenomena, introducing the public to constantly repurposed sound bites and themes found throughout the platform.
Fast forward to April 9, 2013, and this platform had become the most-downloaded free app in the iOS App Store, gaining over 200 million active users along the way. It seemed like the endless loops of Vine might hold their 6-seconds, yet seemingly timeless place in pop culture, yet recent announcements have confirmed that this app has begun its infinite regression into oblivion.
From a Vine to a Weed
As one of the initial adopters myself back in 2013, I first learned about the impending doom this platform faces through opening the app on October 27th. After making references to Vine-specific memes for months with no one making the connections, it was becoming more and more obvious that the app is, and has been on its way out for some time now.
At this point, even the most refined Viners are posting their death-throws and plugs for their other social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube. In all honesty, it’s actually a sad day for all of the people who found their voices through this app. Vine represented a type of storytelling that took on an almost hypnotically comforting repetition of images and sounds, distilling narratives down to something you could watch once without wasting your time, or on an endless loop to your heart’s content.
Beyond the infinite 6-second reels, gags, and occasional endorsement, this platform produced a community that might only be comparable to the early days of Tumblr, encouraging real-life meet-ups and collaborations in building connections beyond digital reactions. This, I believe, is going to be an increasingly rare phenomenon and something that we really can’t take for granted anymore.
Yes, all good things come to an end, yet if that were ever untrue you might just be watching one of your favorite Vine posts.