When Twitter announced that it would soon be discontinuing the Vine app, cultural analysts and tech nuts everywhere immediately took to their blogs to speculate about the app’s downfall; all concluding that while Vine was supercool, innovative and great while it lasted, its failure to develop a sustainable business model was ultimately responsible for its undoing.
But rather than dissecting the managerial missteps that predicated the app’s demise, let us instead revel in Vine’s contribution to pop culture (and our lives) over the past few years.
Vine describes itself as, “an entertainment network where videos and personalities get really big, really fast.” Never has there been a more accurate official statement. Recognizing the utility of Vine’s signature, the “six seconds of looping video” premise, Twitter acquired the app in 2012 — before it’s launch — certain that it would serve as the perfect visual complement to their text-based platform.
It did! Since it’s inception, the app has done so much more than offer mischievous teenagers a creative outlet. Thanks to Vine, dozens of recording artists, comedians and film makers were catapulted to stardom (Shawn Mendez) or rediscovered (former Nickelodeon star Josh Peck, who, if you weren’t aware, got like, really super hot. )
Though Vine was most famously used for short-form comedy, it was also often employed as a marketing and journalistic tool, covering serious subjects like the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting and the Scottish referendum.
All seriousness aside, Vine will be most fondly remembered for generating thousands of cultural moments for the enjoyment of us all. Like the GIFS and memes that we so treasured, Vines have the unique capacity to explain our seemingly inexplicable “feels,” funny in that they effectively captured universal truths.
And then there were the countless Vines that were not so insightful but super funny anyway.
When Vine user Marlon Webb cried, “It’s a WATERMELONE INSIDE OF A WATERMELONE!’ — it was the phrase heard round the world, inspiring countless punchlines and imitation videos, probably even causing a spike in watermelon sales. Sure, it didn’t necessarily “mean” anything, but it didn’t have to. Anytime there was a stray melon within a five-mile radius, you could always count on a pal to point and exclaim, “Watermelone!” to the delight of everyone in ear range.
The word “fleek” was popularized on Vine.
The phrase “Why you always lying” — also a Vine thing.
“For the vine” became an excuse to do all kinds of stupid, potentially life-threatening stuff. People dropped their thun-thun-nuns. People did parkour who had no business doing parkour. Countless infants were made to utter obscenities.
But we laughed. We laughed, and we shared them in the car with our friends, who shared them with their friends. I tried to explain to my mom why my little brother kept pointing to people’s shoes and screaming, ‘WHAT ARE THOSE!?”
(This was far easier said than done. It was also a really nasty, persistant habit. He did it in an Outback Steakhouse once. People stared.)
We laughed at Vine references because they were inside jokes that excluded no one, generational entities that we possessed collectively and that will probably never be extinguished from our common vernacular.
Farewell, Vine. You truly will be missed.