Vine is coming back: let’s remember its legacy

Just days after he said he was working on a follow-up, Dom Hofmann shared an image of a potential new logo

Just one week ago, the founder of Vine, Dom Hofmann, reignited hope in the thousands of people who’ve been desperately missing the app since its closure in 2016. For four sweet years Vine dominated the internet with six-second clips, pioneering a new type of short-form, often high-concept comedy and catapulting its stars to fame. After its closure, many of its stars made the (often unsuccessful) move to YouTube, where many Vine compilations now live, too.

We were all ready to live a bleak, empty life without Vine until our world inevitably explodes in six months - until now. Yesterday, Hofmann shared what could be a logo: a background in the trademark Vine green with V2 in white writing. He captioned it simply “v2”, but the implication is clear: Vine, in some form or another, is coming back.

What that’ll mean and when it’ll happen isn’t yet clear, but in the meantime it’s important not to forget the major impact Vine had on the internet, comedy and culture. By limiting its users to just six seconds of video, Vine was initially the subject of some incredulity. But its users took the limit as a challenge and managed to make the most of those six seconds with everything from the most simple to the most highly elaborate clips. The app had an unforgettable impact on the way we consume and create comedy online, and ahead of its inevitable comeback, here are just a few of the ways it managed it.

IT WAS FOR EVERYONE

While some Vines were the result of thousands of dollars and hours of work, many of them were simple, free, and easy to execute. Unlike YouTube, which is increasingly dominated by people with the money and connections to create more professional content, Vine was legitimately amateur and as a result became a breeding ground for underground talent that might otherwise not have been heard. This amateurism also made Vine feel like a throwback to the early 2000s, back when the internet was good.

IT WAS AN IMPORTANT PLATFORM FOR PEOPLE OF COLOUR

As a result of that, Vine quickly became dominated by talented people of colour, especially black American comedians. It provided a vital voice and platform for those who had little chance of breaking into or being represented by mainstream media, and launched careers for those who might not otherwise have had a shot at fame.

IT FORCED A NEW FORMAT

All of the most successful apps are (initially annoyingly) very limited. Be it 140 characters, square photos or 6 second videos, the USP of some of our favourite apps is that you can’t do very much of them. With an extremely slim time limit and limited resources creators were forced to be more creative than on platforms, and as a result they thrived – while creating a brand new genre of comedy never before seen online or elsewhere.

IT COULD BE ELABORATE OR STUNNINGLY SIMPLE

Some of the best Vines are of authentic, simple moments captured in time – things that required no planning and would have happened anyway but just happened to fit in the time limit perfectly. But others took as much time, money, choreography and energy as a full-length video and managed to fit entire narratives within just six seconds, further proving the genius of Vine’s many stars.

IT IMPACTED WIDER CULTURE

One of Vine’s key genres was dance videos; often novelty dance videos that were soundtracked by songs that mightn’t have otherwise found such a huge, wide audience, like Young Thug’s “Stoner” that appeared in Nae Nae videos and thus jump-started his career. The Nae Nae itself found its way into wider culture, with Hillary trying to Nae Nae her way to the youth vote on Ellen. “Damn Daniel” too, found its way onto Ellen, while “on fleek” a phrase which was coined on Vine, became Merriam-Webster’s 2015 word of the year. While these migrations to mainstream culture felt cringey, like adults trying desperately to understand what the crazy kids were getting up to online, they’re still indicative of Vine’s massive impact on culture.