By Alisa Pierce
Blog Content Contributor
Twitter announced late in October that in the upcoming months, they would be shutting down the popular video app Vine, which became home to thousands of content creators and fans. The app was originally released in 2013 and gained world-wide success after many of its six second videos went viral. Since then, Vine has had a significant impact on our culture, especially on social media. Popular vines have created new memes, jingles and even words. The term “on fleek” from a Vine created in 2014 has officially been recognized by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and has been defined as having a perfect quality in any form. I.e., “eyebrows on fleek”.
The announcement of Vine’s eventual end comes after Twitter’s public statement that they would be cutting nine percent of their staff, and that Vine had been struggling to match the level of its original popularity. It is widely believed that despite Vine’s success, it could not compete with Snapchat, which has quickly become the more popular short-video app and could see ad revenue of up to $1 billion next year.
The death of Vine has been met with varying reactions. Many are surprised that the app, which has been described as one of the top ten social media platforms on the planet, is truly ending only after three years, while others claim that “it’s time”. It’s true, Vine’s time in the limelight was slowly and surely coming to an end way before Twitter’s announcement. Despite having 200 million active users in 2015, the app’s popularity began to decline in 2016. Vine’s possible (if not eventual) descent into stagnation, paired with Twitter’s recent profit loss of a whopping $103 million for the quarter, meant that Twitter simply could not keep the once-popular video app afloat.
This is bittersweet for many people, especially the content creators of Vine. Many shot to fame after their Vines went viral, and since then created a career through the app. Popular Viners were often offered paired with high end brands who would pay them up to $50,000 per ad campaign if the videos they created had some sort of product placement or shout out. If all you had to do was make a video to earn $50,000, would you ever do anything else?
Besides careers, many creators become hugely invested in Vine culture. Viners gained a fame comparable to B-list celebrities, and with that, a following. Ordinary people who became Vine famous gained popularity and thousands of loyal fans overnight. Some Viners even met more famous celebrities, such as Kylie and Kendall Jenner. Viners also began to build a community together, and would collaborate and feature each other in their videos to create a mutual fan base. After that was a success, events such as SocialCon, VidCon and a Viner campout were planned for these creators to hang out and create content together. Popular Viners such as Danny Gonzales, Kenny Knox and Tom Harlock attended these events.
Many of these Viners have taken the end of the app poorly. Although they will lose potential revenue, and many of their following will not transfer to the Viner’s other platforms on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, the main concern for many of the Viners is the loss of a creative outlet. Many Viners were known for posting their feelings about politics, our society and life in general. While the rest of the public has begun to rewatch old Vines, content creators for the app have begun to say goodbye to a huge part of their lives. Viners Brandon Calvillo and Justin Russo have posted lengthy and emotional goodbyes to their favorite app, while other Viners have taken to tweeting their frustrations.
For these Viners, the app was a platform in which they could channel their emotions, promote themselves and make friends. Vine was a form of self-expression. For three years, they created content that would go viral and experienced a small form of fame. They were integral in creating content that could become the “next big thing”, whether that meant a catch phrase or a new word. Was Vine a cultural masterpiece that created content comparable to that of Mozart and Picasso? Definitely not. Was Vine a way for people to connect with others and their emotions? It’s possible.
Vine’s demise might be sooner than some had hoped, but it comes right on time with Twitter’s losses. Eventually, Vine would have become the next Myspace, and nothing could be more sad for a social media platform. Despite this, Vine’s end brings about a period of nostalgia from its creators and fans that has left many looking for the next app to rise to popularity. Who knows, maybe we’ll see our favorite Viners on another app one day.
Featured Illustration by Devin Dickens