A requiem for vine: the video app will be missed by some

Joel Hopkins, Columnist

Many of us, young and old, are plagued by short attention spans and the need for instant gratification.

Social media sites and apps continue to make it easier than ever to waste our time, and harder than ever to get off and get back to something productive.

YouTube clips and Netflix shows, for example, continue to play one after another automatically unless you tell them to stop. On sites like Twitter and Instagram, one can scroll on and on and the content replenishes itself seemingly forever.

The video-sharing service Vine launched in 2013, and it quickly became the epitome of smartphone-induced time wasting.

Vine’s claim to fame was that it limited the length of submitted clips to a maximum of six seconds.

Some creators claimed that it actually required more creativity to try and do something humorous or interesting within such short confines, as opposed to longer videos.

Vine was a success initially, and it remained the most-used video-sharing app for a decent amount of time.

Personally, I am not heavily involved in all of the popular social media sites. I tweeted once; it was a picture of a giant turtle that I saw on the side of the road. I get a chuckle out of that being my only tweet, so I have left it alone. My Facebook account is similarly inactive.

But every once and awhile, I would get the urge to scroll through Vine. It was usually only when I had something important to be doing. It was just too easy to get sucked in, and to be distracted from the pressing matters that were at hand.

To shed some light on the power Vine had over procrastinators, I will admit that I just spent about twenty minutes watching Vine clips in the middle of writing this article.

I checked in on the mobile Vine app for research purposes. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was watching dozens of six-second clips of people falling off of things to the tunes of popular music.

And that is what Vine was all about.

Nobody was going to win any Academy Awards for these clips, they were just short, stupid videos to scroll through and laugh at when you needed a break.

Sure, some uploaders were able to create interesting “stop-motion” or other art-inspired type videos, but that wasn’t really what brought most people to Vine.

Several “Vine stars” emerged on the service, most of them comedians, who garnered huge followings. Many of them left for other endeavors, and Vine began to fizzle out.

Although Vine was a guilty pleasure for a large number of people, it began to die down in popularity after its first few years.

Also – unfortunately for Vine – other services like Instagram implemented video sharing services of their own, and Vine failed to retain a real edge over its competition.

And out of seemingly nowhere, last month Twitter announced that it had laid off over 300 employees, and would be shutting down its Vine service. Twitter did not give a clear reason for killing Vine, but it is assumed by many that it was done in an effort to maintain profitability for the company, and to look more appealing to potential buyers.

A number of users who had moved on from Vine long ago are saying “good riddance” to the service, but for many others Vine will be missed. Yes, there are plenty of other services you can watch your short and silly clips on, but there will always be something special about the first one.

Twitter says that for the time being, users will still be able to view and download the Vines that have already been uploaded to the service, although it seems unlikely that this will remain the case for long.

For the occasional users like myself, who only found themselves scrolling through Vine in rare instances, we will easily find a new way to get our fix. For the more loyal and dedicated Viners, however, the adjustment might be a bit more difficult.

Either way, we must both bid farewell to Vine, and the wonderful time-waster and entertainer it could be.

May its archives rest in peace.


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