8 Reasons Why Vine Mattered - Rolling Stone
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8 Reasons Why Vine Mattered

News of short-form video app shutting down means end of important internet meme era

shawn mendes, Vine, King Bach, Ruth Bshawn mendes, Vine, King Bach, Ruth B

With Vine shutting down in the coming months, here are eight reasons why the short-form video app mattered.

Larry Busacca/Getty, Mary Clavering/Young Hollywood/Getty

Like one of its six-second videos, Vine’s lifespan as a short-form video app was short but provocative. Vine will be shutting down as it reaches its fourth year in existence and after a strong run of being the most productive and prolific producer of viral content. With its strong focus on young users and the creativity it spurred, the app not only shifted internet culture but it also gave the music industry and Hollywood a much-needed breath of fresh air. In light of the announcement of its impending closure, here are eight things Vine gave us.

1. It served as one of the most visible spaces for young, black creatives.
Vine’s greatest gift to young internet culture was the incredible space for primarily black teenagers to shine. Some of the most famous, viral moments during Vine’s tenure were prompted by young, black users, including Bobby Shmurda’s “Shmoney” dance, the invention of the term “on fleek” and the popularization of songs like Silentó’s “Watch Me.” However, even with the visibility of the internet creators that the app promoted, controversy circled around how their labor was made invisible by cultural demand for their creations, like the use of Kayla Newman’s new term “fleek” as a popular advertisement and slogan for consumption, even though she saw none of the profits.

2. The app was the music business’ most unique discovery tool.
Lip-sync app Musical.ly has taken over this contribution Vine gave the world, but Vine made the memeification of pop music sustainable and important. Both new artists like Chedda Da Connect (“Flicka Da Wrist”) and veteran artists like Drake (“Hotline Bling”) alike benefitted from their music being turned into various trends across the platform, whether they elicited a viral dance craze or creative uses of songs to create short pieces of comedy.

3. Dance crazes became re-popularized through the videos and specific users.
Young dancers like SheLovesMeechie and Lucas and Marcus found a niche on the app that factored into Vine’s music discovery abilities. Recording creatively constructed and technically astounding short pieces of choreography for new and old songs turned them into stars and the popularity of Vine-famous moves like the Whip and Nae Nae as well as the Quan were oft-imitated by the actual dancers, the aspiring dancers and celebrities alike.

4. Vine produced smarter, more in-touch pop stars.
Beyond viral songs, Vine also created actual pop stars. Shawn Mendes and Ruth B are the young talents currently benefitting the most from their Vine fame, and with their pre-disposed social media capabilities and grassroots fandom, the dedicated Vine musicians who rose to prominence with six-second covers and originals have the tools to maintain their popularity and the hunger to grow bigger and better.

5. It popularized a new approach to comedy.
On YouTube, viewers were drawn to the ridiculous as often as they were the earnest. The video streaming sites’ biggest users were typically funny, charming vloggers like Kingsley or Grace Helbig and its viral content hit WTF levels of irreverence, like the sketch “OMG Shoes,” “Chocolate Rain” and the dramatic hamster meme, all from its early years of existence. Vine allowed charming, relatable creators to post with irreverence, making for the type of content that was at one time disposable and lingering; at six seconds, they didn’t demand much time, but they would still be there hours or days later if a user had an urge to return. Some popular forms of Vine comedy included the tried-and-true hysterics of physical pain, parody songs and pulled moments from movies, tv shows and the news.

6. A fresh generation of comedy stars were born.
While it has yet to be seen if Vine-famous comedians and personalities will break into Hollywood, the popularity of users like King Bach, Jay Versace, Cameron Dallas and Lele Pons shows that there’s an audience for their unique talents at sketch comedy and impersonations, and most importantly that they have impeccable comedic timing that could be of use in a sitcom or blockbuster film.

7. A post-YouTube gateway to viral fame was paved.
Vine’s focus on brevity paved the way for Snapchat and its heavy focus on popular music made a space for Musical.ly. With less space and materials, Vine created a world of MacGyver-esque viral stars that have rose in prominence because of how well they use their limited resources. While detractors focused on the shortness of the videos, active users appreciated the amount of punches and laughs could be delivered so quickly and with such a lingering effect.

8. It introduced a more irreverent side of already famous celebrities.
As with all social media sites and apps, many of Vine’s most popular users were people who were famous long before the app’s creation. Drake, Kylie Jenner, Tyra Banks, Justin Bieber, Harry Styles and more used the app often and with gusto, especially in the first two years of the start-up’s existence. Through their behind-the-scenes videos, stars who may not be best known for their comedic chops gave little glimpses into their lives and humor in a way that Snapchat would later profit off of.

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