Vine is dead: when did it fall off the wagon?

With Vine announcing the closure of its mobile app it's time to look back on the popularity of their six second videos...

Vine is dead: when did it fall off the wagon?

It's been a terrible few weeks for most young people. I'll be kind and not mention the final tragedy, the nail in the coffin that proved that 2016 is a year to be swept under the carpet. Instead, let's turn back the clock a few weeks to the end of October.

The announcement by Twitter that Vine was closing down was a big shock to many, especially as it had its number of active users at the end of 2015 was roughly equivalent to the population of Brazil.

You can see the end of Vine signalled months in advance. Twitter has been famously in decline for a year or so and, as the social network owned the viral video app, Vine wasn't in good hands. It was a bad sign that this summer Vine introduced #beyondthevine, which allowed users to post video clips lasting up to 140 seconds. The post announcing this development was the last on the official Vine blog prior to the shutdown notice. The entire appeal of Vine, at least for casual users like me, was the brevity of its videos.

When struggling to write an essay on some dull and obscure topic I don't turn to Youtube for distraction as it could lead to a spiralling mess, ending in me leaving the library carrying a massive pile of books and wondering how it was possible to watch two hours of kitten videos at once. Instead, I could watch a few Vines.

At six seconds, they're not even a guilty pleasure. Just the right length to be a sly break from studying, there's also something magical about Vine videos. Often they're completely absurd. From Lion King re-enactments with a household pet to the almost slapstick humour of comedian Thomas Sanders, Vine has something for everyone to enjoy.

The immediate sign of Vine's downfall was the last ditch decision to add longer videos to the site. But there was always going to be issues of longevity for a site dependent on such a specific concept. Six seconds isn't long. The death of Vine suggests that it isn't long enough.

There's no need to despair too much though, as Vine has archived its videos for future viewers to enjoy. Perhaps one day Vines will be a quirky relic of an Internet era gone by.

Image courtesy of Flickr/EstherVargasC


Emma Yeo

Emma Yeo Activist

Emma Yeo is a third year History student at the University of Durham. When not locked away in the library with dusty old books she can usually be found working on her novel...

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  • Bhavesh Jadva

    On 14 November 2016, 16:03 Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team commented:

    Vine was still really important in my general internet usage until just earlier this year. In bed, I'd scroll through the comedy section and something so seemingly insignificant as a six second long video made me laugh out loud for ages which forced me to share it with my friends. So it's sad to have it disappear. I think the 140 seconds was a bad move. I only hope Twitter had no choice but to shut it down because no one else would buy it because if there was any chance of saving it I'd have been glad of it! It was mostly popular just because of the comedy and music sections but there was absolutely something for everyone. No end to the fun of it!

  • Emma Yeo

    On 14 November 2016, 16:08 Emma Yeo Activist commented:

    I agree that the comedy and music sections are the reason for it's popularity but, of course, there's a lot more to see there. I haven't been on Vine much more recently (perhaps like a lot of its users?) but did see the excellent clips from the creator of the Youtube video 'History of Japan'. It's a shame that there won't be a platform for these small clips in the same way anymore, as they allow a bridge between having nothing ready to show and having a video of the length Youtube videos often are. Uploading a Vine would be a lot less intimidating than uploading a ten minute Vlog and I think that was one of the beauties of the site!

  • Bhavesh Jadva

    On 14 November 2016, 16:19 Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team commented:

    It's true, there was something timeless about the simple fact that they were six seconds.

  • Sienna James

    On 15 November 2016, 10:42 Sienna James Voice Team commented:

    As you mention in your post, Vines are such a quick great break from studying! Six seconds - perfect :)

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