The Resurrection of Vine
Even death could not kill the world’s most beloved form of social media
By: Sammi DiVito
The social media world is a never-ending loop of constant change, adaptation, and refinement. Users jump from one new platform to the next, shaping the way people choose to interact and entertain each other electronically. Myspace, for example, dominated the bulky computer screens of the early 2000s internet as the choice spot to connect. Now, years later, after crumbling beneath the social media mecca that is Facebook, the mostly forgotten website serves as a graveyard to abandoned, cringey profiles from a former life, shunned from popular culture and left to rot in cyberspace.
All websites are doomed to one day to succumb to this online circle-of-life; immortality belongs to no man or html code. But while most platforms eventually meet their maker, none manage to crawl back from the grave to emerge even more popular and iconic than they ever were in their original heyday. Except for Vine, that is.
Originally launched in 2013, the short-form video service drew in 200 million active users in only a matter of years, allowing the public to browse, comment, and post their own six-second videos. And within that time, the people of Vine all seemed to have come to an unspoken agreement: this content is supposed to be funny. From this consensus emerged a new form of comedy that dominated the platform—one characterized by quick jokes, bursts of absurdity, and high-speed erraticism—all caught on camera. Vine stars quickly emerged from the woodwork. Unlike Youtube, where most videos require high-quality shots, editing, actors, and production in order to become popular, Vine was for the common man with a camera phone. A person with no social media background could be in the right place at the right time, phone out, and suddenly have thousands of views and people everywhere repeating, “Road work ahead? Uh, yeah, I sure hope it does.”
Despite all the success, Vine was met with an untimely death in 2017. The owners were finding it increasingly difficult to monetize the site and eventually decided to pull the plug, announcing that the uploading function would be permanently disabled. The people of the Internet mourned but moved on, leaving an expansive archive of videos doomed to haunt the halls of social media past. Or so one would think. After a brief demise, Vine re-entered everyday life.
The public was not content with letting go of what was once their favorite video-sharing site, and as a result, years after its end, Vine has managed to worm its way back into the spotlight. The introduction of Vine compilations was a key player in the app’s resurrection. Countless compilations started appearing on youtube, garnering millions of views. Although Vine was originally supposed to be about quick entertainment, these fan-made collections could be up to an hour long, many of them containing the same video clips.
Strangely enough, people were happy to watch the same Vine videos over and over again. Many have become cult classics of sorts, the short dialogue in an especially popular video weaseling its way into everyday vernacular. All someone has to say now is, “And they were roommates,” and most people understand to say, “My god, they were roommates.”Vines, besides just becoming a form of entertainment, have become a form of communication all its own. Quoting Vines is appropriate as both a joke and a reply, as an interjection and an exclamatory remark. People can also thank Vine for helping shape internet humor, which is now dominated by the same short, quick video style that first became popular on its app. On Youtube, people watch a video and are done with it, forgetting the majority of content they see and moving onto the next one. It’s a disposable form of consumer goods, something to digest and then move on from, like a bag of chips. But Vine, through its creation, dismantling, and subsequent return, has managed to firmly lodge itself in the subconscious of its viewers. Vine may be even more popular now than it ever was when it was still fully-functioning, a feat hardly seen in app history. It doesn’t seem likely that something like Kik will be making a rebirth anytime soon.
The effects of social media may not always be apparent, but their pull in everyday life can be larger than what meets the eye. Will Vine culture continue to persist, passed on from generation to generation like a cultural heirloom? Will the world as we know it become a Vine Utopia in the future, adhering to the punchlines and gags set by Vine predecessors? The app didn’t claw back from its tomb to disappear from popular culture again too easily. Only time will tell what will become of what may be the world’s most beloved form of social media, but in the meantime, never forget, “Um, I’ve never been to oovoo javer.”