The popular video sharing app known as Vine is going to be discontinued on Apple’s mobile app store in the upcoming months. Fans of the social media platform trended #RIPVine worldwide on Twitter, the app’s current owner. Some have argued that Twitter’s neglect to keep the app relevant and a viable streaming competitor with other platforms, such as Facebook’s live video streaming and the new Instagram Stories, may have been the reason for its seemingly inevitable demise. However its fall down the social ladder may have come to be, Vine’s absence is going to mean more than just losing hilarious and easily accessible content videos. We are now losing a social media platform that allowed for unrecognized artists to share their voices and for creative and engaging videos to become immortalized in a six-second loop.
Vine was more than just a simply designed app used to create and spread humorous content. It was globally well-liked, reaching a wide range of audiences; both celebrities and average people alike were able to rewatch the same hilarious skit or heartbreaking reality exemplified in several short videos. Vines did not require too much thought or focus to watch — their succinct nature was one of the reasons why so many people found Vines accessible and launched the app into the mainstream. The girl who popularized the phrase “on fleek,” for example, came from one six-second video in 2014. Vine not only changed the way we view the world, but the way we speak to one another — which may not have been intentional on Vine’s part, but should not be ignored or taken for granted.
With the loss of Vine also comes the loss of a platform that allowed for a more diverse representation in media. More than 50 percent of Vine’s teen audience consisted of Hispanic and black users; they are easily some of the more consistent contributors to the original content that has come out of Vine. Black artists gained a voice through the flexibility of the platform; some popular rap songs went viral after trending on Vine.
The Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson were both seen and felt through videos that exemplified what police brutality looks like from the point of view of a protester. This kind of visceral footage could not have been captured by the mainstream media, since they could not necessarily make it to the front lines of the conflict. Vine made all of this information readily available long before live-streaming add-ons like Periscope and Facebook Live.
Sure, we still have Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but what made Vine so unique was that it had what each of these platforms lacked. Vine was the original stream-of-consciousness app, with a vibrant community and immense social importance. The app’s demise is not just a sentimental loss for devoted users, but a loss for a society changed by Vine’s influence on media and culture.
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A version of this article appeared in the Monday, November 7th print edition. Email Melanie Pineda at [email protected]