The launch of Vine in 2013 changed internet culture forever. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey acquired the company for $30 million and described the 6-second video app as a new art form. He was right: After just a few months, Vine became the most popular free app.
The simplicity, accessibility and ridiculousness of the platform led to many memorable users becoming viral sensations. Because of Vine, anytime I see an avocado I have no choice but to exclaim, “An avocado! Thaaaanks.” My older relatives are entirely confused about how old I am after I kept asking “What’s 9 plus 10?” when I turned 21.
Unfortunately, Vine’s success didn’t last. In October 2016, the company officially announced the app would be discontinued with little explanation as to why. The decision likely resulted from users seeking payment from platforms with better monetization models. The internet suddenly realized they had taken the app for granted and pleaded, to no avail, for Vine to stay up and running.
In January 2017, the app became a permanent archive to commemorate the creative loops. It’s been over a year now since Vine died — but what happened to the Viners?
Many of the users who built up a large following on Vine decided to move their content to YouTube before the app’s ultimate demise. While the transition appeared to be rather awkward for some Viners at first, the move proved successful for creators such as Liza Koshy, Christine Sydelko, Cody Ko and Logan Paul (you know, before he became the most hated guy on YouTube).
Logan Paul has over 17 million YouTube subscribers, while Liza Koshy has over 15 million. Cody Ko and Christine Sydelko have over a million each, along with individual podcasts available on the Apple Podcast app.
Other Viners such as King Bach, Amanda Cerny and Lele Pons moved their comedy sketches to Instagram, which also features limited length videos. Instagram comedy sketches receive a lot of attention, but the press isn’t always positive. The most popular sketches sometimes involve sexualizing women, cheating and over-the-top pranks.
As a result of problematic posts, some brands like Bic and Xfinity cut ties with their Instagram influencers. At the end of the day, Instagram accounts with millions of followers and just as many views continue to earn sponsorships and large paychecks, regardless of any inappropriate messages they might send to fans.
Cinema and Music
Along with creating some cringeworthy Instagram sketches, King Bach’s Vine popularity boosted his acting career as well. His resumé features appearances in “Key & Peele,” “Workaholics” and “The Babysitter.”
Many comedians who gained popularity on Vine, such as Chris D’Elia and Bo Burnham, already had well established careers before Vine. They both recently released successful Netflix specials and side projects. Bo Burnham wrote and directed his first feature film, “Eighth Grade,” which debuted at this year’s Sundance Festival. The film, produced by indie mainstay A24, currently has a 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Some Viners made their way to the big screen without having a head start. Before Vine, Brittany Furlan tried with difficulty to break into TV. When she started using Vine, she became the app’s most followed female until she left the app in 2015 prior to its discontinuation.
She likely left to focus on her acting career, a decision that has worked out well for her. She earned roles in “We Are Your Friends” and “The Unicorn,” and is also developing a sketch comedy show with Seth Green.
Many Viners used the platform to launch music careers as well. Shawn Mendes has Vine to thank for his record deal with Island Records that has brought him nothing but success. His self-titled studio album will be promoted as Mendes tours the globe in 2019, and at this point, it’s easy to forget where his career started.
Other Viners, such as Nick Colletti and Cody Ko, have also pursued music, producing purposely goofy raps (although unfortunately not together). Colletti’s stage name is “Yung Turd” and Cody Ko teamed up with Noel Miller to create “Tiny Meat Gang.”
Maintaining internet popularity didn’t remain a priority for all Vine stars after the platform discontinued. Less popular Viners such as Christiana Gilles, also known by her verified account name NaturalExample, viewed the creative outlet as irreplaceable. The 6-second format of Vine required a distinct snappy sense of humor that Gilles didn’t think would translate elsewhere.
The reality for Gilles was that she needed to keep working hard at her job as a car sales consultant to pay off her mother’s medical bills, as she was diagnosed with cancer around the same time Vine had ended. She hopes to eventually find a way to work more creatively again, but the time needs to be right.
Some Viners are simply too young to be concerned with working at a career in content creation right now (think peanut butter baby and legendary meme-child Gavin), while other Viners were just one-clip wonders (remember the “wow” vape guy?) While many Viners’ presences on the internet are missed, their contributions to internet culture will not be forgotten any time soon. If Vine 2.0 ever actually launches, I for one promise not to take it for granted.