Pour One Out for Vine

RIP to the six-second storytelling empire

LC mourns the death of Vine, the video app that, while popular, never fully permeated the mainstream or reached its full potential. There are lots of perspectives out there about why Vine failed (Twitter, lack of innovation, Twitter, and competition with apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Twitter, why did you kill such an awesome app?!), but we wanted to take a moment to reflect instead on what made it awesome:

  • Platform restrictions inspired inventiveness. It might seem like a counterintuitive approach, but constraints placed on creative outputs often enhance rather than limit creativity. Vine removed many of the infinite choices creators are faced with, illustrating that there’s still a lot of story that can be told in 6 seconds – and the narratives built within these parameters proved just how restrictions on formats can be leveraged for good. This predetermined brevity also boosted humor in a big way. Humor is all about timing, and Vine’s unique timing limits caused comedy to thrive.
  • Everyone was a content creator. Social media as a whole is the great equalizer, allowing average people to create art. With Instagram, we’re all photographers; with Twitter, we all create poetry in 140-character verse. The best apps empower everyday people to design the content that shapes their digital world. The creative content enabled by Vine’s platform restrictions wasn’t handed down by brands or corporate entities, and it was more than just a two-way street, it was a web of interconnected culture.
  • Young black people had a voice. With Vine, art belonged to everyone, and the app became a venue for underrepresented populations to create and share content. As Brian Feldman observed on NY Mag, “The engines of [Vine’s] creativity were groups poorly served by, and often shut out from, mainstream cultural creation and consumption. Vine wasn’t just dominated by teenagers — it was dominated by teenagers of color. Especially black teens, who created a disproportionate number of popular Vines and used the social network to demonstrate wit, intelligence, creativity, and comic timing that was rarely given a spotlight elsewhere.”

What’s a sendoff without a highlights reel? Here are six four of the LC's content team’s favorite six seconds:

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