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