Vine, the 6-second video looping app that millennials and generation-Z-ers constantly reminisce over, sadly ended in 2016. But one of its founders, Don Hofmann, recently announced he was launching a new app, Byte. The announcement of Byte is exciting, though many wonder if a platform like Vine really could have a comeback, or if it will ever be the same. Few details are known about Byte and what exactly the app will do. Regardless, this announcement has sparked much conversation regarding the impact of Vine and its reemergence through Byte, two years after the app died.
Vine was launched in 2012 by three men, one being Hofmann. The app was initially intended to be a way to help people “capture casual moments in their lives and share them with friends,” according to The Verge. Vine, which was bought by Twitter for $30 million in 2012, instead attracted a young and fresh audience that would use the 6 seconds to create content that became comedic gold for our generation.
The most infamous videos we still remember today were silly and unplanned. From “it’s an avocado,” to “two dudes chillin' in a hot tub,” to “what’s 9 + 10," and many more, we can quote these Vines like it's second nature. Years later, we treasure the clips that didn't rely on good lighting or a script. They were impromptu and random.
Vine is also the springboard behind many YouTube and Instagram stars today who got their start and following from Vine. The platform started to lose audiences when Instagram implemented videos, and many stars jumped ship. This is one of the biggest factors that led to the eventual downfall of Vine. Although it was comedy gold, it was not immune to the simple truth that humans will stick to what is most popular, which was Instagram.
Though Vine didn't have longevity, it had a hilarious, game-changing legacy with direct effect on our culture from memes to media. “What "SNL" or MTV or "Anchorman" or "Chapelle's Show" or "Gilmore Girls" were for older generations, Vine was for a younger class of kids," according to The Atlantic. "Only a generation of teens and young adults newly empowered with smartphones ... could have produced Vine, a medium that requires a willingness to show off to friends and strangers, a freedom to look a little silly or stupid, and hours and hours of waiting-around time to workshop ideas.”
It’s true – Vine worked perfectly because of the generation of young people that were attracted to it. We were raised on rapidly-evolving technology and the introduction of social media. With an emphasis on immediacy and authenticity, Vine was the emblematic platform of our generation.
Vine, like so many great things, came to a sad end in 2016, but many have longed for its return. It seems that with the announcement of Byte, many wishes may be coming true, but the details and specifics of Byte are still not known. We are also left wondering if Vine would really work today, despite our love for the app.
“As the web continues to expand and corporatize, as more companies merge an Apple-like aesthetic with Walmart-like scale, it’s hard to imagine anything like Vine happening again,” according to The Atlantic.
The same people who love Vine and miss it are the same people who led to its demise as they moved to Instagram once it introduced videos. It's not known if a service like Vine can be as effective as it was, but what is certain is that it had an immense impact on our culture.