Vine has changed my life for the better. It has taken me down paths that I could have never expected, given me experiences that I could have never imagined, and helped me get into my dream school. I will forever be grateful for you, Vine. To the creators of Vine and the community that I have come to know and love: I’ll miss you.
Within a few months of the January 2013 Vine launch, I downloaded the application and tried to figure out how I could use it differently than others. At the time, most of the content creators with the biggest followings were producing funny 6-seconds skits. These short videos would then get on Vine’s Popular page, where people would go to watch the funny videos. This helped viewers find the best content while also expanding the audience for the producers. It was a win–win for both the viewer and influencer.
Next, the style of videos began to vary. Some creators were making stop motion videos, a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started to give animated figures the impression of movement.
I discovered a new way to take advantage of the interesting recording style of videos on Vine (the tap and hold technique) that was later coined as “Vine Magic.” I would start recording a video and then abruptly stop it, change something in the frame, line up the frames again, and restart the video recording. These videos looked like illusion, like magic.
I created videos like this for nearly six months without recognition. I just liked to make the videos, so I did it. It was a way to showcase a creative side of myself that not many people knew about. Then, suddenly, my videos began to gain traction. A few of them landed on the Popular page, and from there the momentum took me away. I gained followers at an unimaginable pace. I kept posting videos and people kept enjoying them. I quickly had 100,000 followers. I couldn’t even wrap my head around it.
The craziest part is what happened next: I started getting job offers at 15 years old. I was asked to sign a deal with GrapeStory, a mobile-first influencer-marketing agency. At the time, this company had exclusively signed with many of the top influencers on Vine. I was honored, even though I didn’t really know what it meant. I soon found out. GrapeStory finds companies for influencers to work with and promote on their personal accounts. As of today, I have produced Vines with companies and brands including Aquafina, Charmin, Chips Ahoy, Ritz, Virgin Mobile, Milk Bone, Coca Cola, Major League Soccer, Kellogg’s, Chrysler, Silk, Microsoft, NBC Universal, 7UP, Intel, Visa, Nickelodeon, and even Marvel. I went from being your average high-school student, worried about sports and homework, to being a content creator and advertising outlet for Fortune 500 Companies. It was crazy.
Then one Monday, during the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I created this video:
After less than an hour, it had more than 20,000 likes. In less than a day, it had reached nearly 300,000 likes. I was getting emails from places like Good Morning America and the Today Show asking to feature it. Good Morning America did a short feature, breaking down the creation process of the video:
Watch the video Impossible Pool Trick Vine Explained on Yahoo Good Morning America . Christian Leonard broke down how…gma.yahoo.com
This vine was reposted by celebrities all over Twitter and Facebook. A number of my friends told me that they had seen the video before realizing that I was the one who made it. This was by far my most popular video ever. It is currently sitting at 530,000 likes and over 63,000,000 views, just on Vine. I reached 1 million followers on Vine in July of 2016, and I credit my swimming pool post for these numbers. It’s still tough for me to digest the fact that the number of people who follow me on Vine are nearly the same as the amount of people who live in my home state of Rhode Island.
I would consider 2014 as Vine’s most active year. That is when I saw the highest level of engagement and success in my videos and the videos of my peers. As 2015 came around, I could tell that traction was slowing down a bit for Vine as a whole. Engagement seemed to drop steadily. On top of it, a lot of Viners were moving over to other platforms such as Instagram and YouTube because they saw more opportunities to make money and engage with audiences. Viners were losing interest in the six-second video and posting less, thus the viewers were increasingly losing interest and using the application less frequently.
The decline of Vine was circular in nature. Although I started creating videos because I loved it, I continued making videos because of the audience. But when the audience left, so did my desire to post. As the audience disappeared and engagement slowed on the app, influencers didn’t feel the need to post as much. As influencers were posting less, their followers noticed, and they opened up Vine less.
I can’t say I was surprised when I heard that Vine is dying. For me, it’s the end of an era. While I would have loved to avoid this day, I respect Vine’s decision not to drag out the application’s demise.
As the Vine meets its end, social media is not over for me. Vine has taken me down a particular path and steered my future. I love social media and have now been exposed to the world of marketing and advertising and want to pursue it as a career.
As for the future of short video, I don’t think anyone truly knows what’s next. Will it continue its popularity on Twitter and Instagram, or will a new platform emerge? What does Facebook Live streaming mean for sharing things in real-time? Will Snap and Instagram stories replace television one day? Although I’d like to believe that platforms can adapt to change and stay popular forever, the truth is most probably won’t. There will always be people trying to revolutionize technology, and chances are, the platforms that we know and love will someday all be discontinued, just like Vine.