The Significance of Vine to Digital History

Abner Torres Martinez
4 min readJan 17, 2021

Launched on January 13, 2013, Vine was a social networking video app that provided users the platform to share, edit, and film six-second looping videos that became the popular trend between 2013 to 2015. The app was the first of its kind where users had the opportunity to be creative and artistic, while also being short and direct with six seconds to film. It also allowed users to explore and watch inspirational videos, funny memes, fun dances, etc. Vine exploded and hit the world by storm right away as it became the most downloaded free app within the iOS App Store on April 9, 2013.

As a high schooler at the time, I remembered Vine as an app that my friends and I bonded over. We would meet up every day at lunch to try and create short video clips of doing silly things. It gotten to the point where we would meet up after school and instead of doing homework, we would create Vine’s in hopes of them blowing up and getting notice. Unfortunately, our inspirations of making a name out of ourselves through Vine didn’t pan out. The app however did jump start the career of many young people.

A community of young stars emerged around the video app. Zach King, whose eye-popping magic tricks earned him 4 million followers and more than 1.4 billion views. Or Logan Paul, whose Vine’s looped more than 4 billion times, parlayed his following a series of acting roles. Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas landed acting roles in the movie The Outfielder. However, most people remember Vine as an app that jump started Shawn Mendes’s singing career where he signed a major record deal with Island Records.

Shawn Mendes

Vine kick started many young stars’ careers but sooner or later those same young stars started to get pushed out by Vine and were drawn in by competitors. Vine’s impossible to duplicate video service suddenly became a service that was easy to replicate. The commanding lead Vine had was no more as competitors added video features that users were gravitated to. Instagram introduced 15-second video clips in June 2013, which was then expanded with additional features and 60-second videos. YouTube launched a GIF creator in 2014, which allowed users to convert any 6-second supported YouTube video to a GIF. Lastly and most recent, TikTok, similar to Vine, allows for simple short videos up to 60 seconds with the added option of Duet — two different TikTok creators may collaborate at different times to create a final video.

Vine’s Direct Competitors: Instagram and YouTube

“Instagram video was the beginning of the end” for Vine, said a former Vine executive during an interview with The Verge. Unfortunately, his statement became reality on October 27, 2016 when Vine announced that Twitter would be discontinuing the Vine mobile app. Instagram video was one of the reasons why the video app ended, however there were other reasons that also contributed to the end of Vine. Vine didn’t move fast enough to differentiate and was too comfortable in their video strategy as competitors were replicating their strategy and making it more appealing for creators and users. Unfortunately, that didn’t set well with many marketers and Vine creators. As a result, they decided to transition away from Vine and began to conduct business with longer short video platforms.

On January 17, 2017, Vine was no more but it still holds a huge significance on digital history. Vine created the path for short video to be more prevalent and dominate within the social media realm. It allowed creators to film, edit, and share their content and stories to their community. It allowed ordinary people to become celebrities. Most of all, it pushed social media platforms to compete and expand on video content. Resulting in video being a prominent piece to social media. Vine is no longer here but its presence is still felt to this day through memes, GIFs, and short 6-second video clips that were created through Vine and are now being used on other platforms such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. It’s safe to say that Vine has a huge significance to digital and video history.