We shall mourn the loss of Vine by celebrating all of the goofy, witty, artistic and insightful six-second videos it had to offer. But, more importantly, we will mourn the loss of the voice it gave to black youth. Without this platform, people of color will have to break through and try to foster the same community feel that Vine offered, on other social media platforms.
On Thursday, Twitter announced that it will be discontinuing Vine.
Black culture thrived on Vine. Particularly pervasive vines seeped into other media – TV commercials, pop songs, and more. Kayla Newman, who started the Vine account Peaches Monroee, has 85,000 followers. In her most famous Vine she said, “Eyebrows on fleek” – and the expression exploded in mainstream pop culture. Suddenly, companies like Denny’s, IHOP and Hefty all featured the phrase in commercials and tweets – an indicator that a fragment of black Internet subculture has mainstream influence. Interestingly, this is not the only example of black culture originating on Vine and making an larger impact.
In the music industry, Vines inspired songs and dances. Vines could jumpstart an artist’s career or spread a dance trend. TeRio is a “Vine star” who was first seen on his cousin Maleek’s account.
“Oooh, kill em,” became popularized. Meek Mill even used it as a song title. An Atlanta dance group, called We Are Toonz, created the Nae Nae dance move; but, it was on Vine where millions of kids posted videos doing the move. Vine is not the only place black culture existed, but it was an incubator for black youth to share their creativity.
With the rise in police brutality in America, many protesters turned to Vine to share their story. According to CNN, some of the first social media posts about Ferguson were posted on Vine. Antonio French, for example, used his Vine account to document what was going on in Ferguson, Missouri. At the time, other forms of video sharing did not exist, so people turned to Vine to protest and advocate for what they believed in. Media outlets learned about the protests through the posts on social media.
News of the discontinuation of Vine caused an outcry from essentially everyone and thousands took to Twitter to express their disappointment and frustrations. According to Pew, 31 percent of users on Vine were black and 24 percent were hispanic. People of color dominated this platform.
2/ Losing #Vine SUCKS. It was the 1 part of social web that seemed 2 not get as racist, mean, petty as all the rest. ALSO, it was BLACK AF
— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) October 28, 2016
Man Vine was a revolution in story telling, empowering many black and brown folk. Of course @Twitter is abandoning it.
— ShawnAlexanderAllen (@aNuChallenger) October 27, 2016
We had to figure out how find the most important six seconds in protest & Vine was our only way to share it quickly.
— deray mckesson (@deray) October 27, 2016
Twitter did not recognize the significance Vine had in creating culture and did not make Vine competitive with other social media outlets once they too developed video. With their video capabilities, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter will have to find a way to fill this void. Chaz Smith, a former Huffington Post video host, told the Huffington Post in an interview that YouTube and Instagram can be a platform for artists to share their work too.
“I believe that the transition to those platforms will be very smooth for many,” he said.
The loss of Vine is something Twitter should truly regret. Vine contributed a great deal to spreading black culture. Whether they got credit or not for their creativity is a different issue, but Vine offered a medium for people of color to have a voice. The black community can certainly have a voice on other social media platforms, but it will be hard to replace the significance of Vine.