A Part of Me Dies Along with Vine

Opinion by J1 Reporter Kaji Loro

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Photo courtesy of Noel Olson ’19.

“A potato flew around my room before you came,” sings a man as he films a singular potato he has attached to a spinning ceiling fan. Suddenly, the fan is on high speed and the potato is whirling around the room dangerously. Screaming and chaos ensues. The crowd goes wild.

My first encounter with vines such as these were something of a life-changing event. In its early days in 2012, Vine was occupied by videos that were six seconds of pure jump cuts as users attempted to figure out the best way to use the application. It wasn’t long before people started creating short sketches and sharing content they deemed relatable with the world. When it became clear that the app was sticking around, a few questions and concerns were raised. Are six-second videos pandering to our already short attention spans and making us dumber? Is it even possible to communicate anything of substance in six seconds? How could anyone possibly find the content funny?

Here’s the truth: I don’t even remember what I found funny before the era of Vine. When looking back on my fondest memories of comedy, most of them have to do with these short videos. A year ago it was hard to get through a single conversation with another millennial without a Vine reference being made. It’s a strange sense of community we have created in which someone can walk into a room and say “Hi, welcome to Chili’s,” in an excited tone or simply say “Adam” in exasperation and make the entire room dissolve into giggles.

Not only that, but Vine also changed music for the internet. There’s a large amount of songs that either started out as vines or had snippets played in other successful vines. They include songs like “Ooh Kill ‘Em” by Meek Mill which was originally a Vine of a boy dancing as his friends cheered him on or “Gas Pedal” by Sage the Gemini which was featured in several dancing vines. Vine was a breeding ground for unknown talents and it forced them to capture our attention within six seconds. It was revolutionary in that sense.

But, all great things come to an end. On Oct. 27, 2016, it was announced that Vine was to be discontinued. The decision sparked outrage across many social media platforms as people wondered what would happen to the videos that shaped half of their conversations and sense of humor for years. I will admit that I was one of those people, but through months of contemplation, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was for the best.

A great man once said that “you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain,” and that had resonated with me. Sure, that man was a fictional character in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film The Dark Knight, but the statement is still applicable here. We live in an age where overexposure kills media. We love things until we start to see too much of it or it spreads to an audience too large for us to enjoy the content any longer, as we start to get annoyed with its presence. I believe that if Vine had continued to host and promote new six-second videos, millennials would’ve grown to dislike it. It would’ve either flourished and become a staple in the roster of social media platforms or it would’ve died a slow death due to unuse. Maybe it’s better that the platform said it’s farewell on its own terms, before we could decide those terms for it.

In the end, I am not the same person I was before Vine launched in 2012. My sense of humor has changed immensely and the sense of community I share with other millennials is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I’d like to think I’m a better person thanks to Vine, and if not, at least a funnier person. It may no longer be what it used to be, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. Long live Vine.

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