Do it for the Vine

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Jan. 24 marked the first anniversary of the global phenomenon that is the video-sharing app Vine. 

Vine started life on the App store as a company that was quickly bought by social network giants Twitter in January of 2013 and slowly  began to build momentum throughout the year, breaking the 40 million user mark in August. The app itself is a simple video sharing software that allows users to create and share clips that are no longer than six seconds. The simplicity and minimalistic character of the app has led it to become on some scale a social media powerhouse with all of the top tech websites, including it in their top apps of the year. Vine was also higher than Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat in Apple’s top iOS Apps of 2013 list, where it finished in fourth place. It is the most downloaded video sharing app on the market. In a blog post celebrating their first birthday the creators of Vine said that “we didn’t know what to expect. To say that we’ve been blown away is an understatement. The creative community that has embraced Vine’s short, looping videos has shown that you can tell a whole story, make people laugh and even leave people speechless –– in six seconds or less.”

One of the main reasons people enjoy Vine is that unlike Twitter and Instagram, the app isn’t dominated by celebrities. The most popular users are comedians, musicians and stop-motion artists, many of them unknown before Vine came along and are now making thousands of dollars in promotional work for many Fortune 500 companies.

The most popular Vine accounts are now around the five million followers bracket with 15 year-old Nash Grier leading the way with 5.2 million people following his Vine account. These top Viners found popularity with short sketch videos featuring slapstick comedy, lip dubs and outlandish behavior in public and these videos normally go viral on both YouTube and Facebook.

Jerome Jarre, co-founder of GrapeStory, a company that helps brands connect with about 20 of the top Vine-ographers. With more than four million followers, Jarre himself is one of the most popular people on Vine and it’s his jovial personality mixed with light hearted pranks of unsuspecting members of society that has propelled him into the limelight.

Businesses are always on the look out for new ways to market their products and the best way to get the best work of creative people is to launch a competition. The Armstrong Vine Awards competition was launched this month to celebrate the first birthday of Vine and is offering $6,000 to the best video in three different categories: Best Art, Best Comedy and Best Animation. Armstrong is a company that aids clients in delivering their content to the right audience at the right moment in the right location and has strong ties with Vine users from all over the world. Josh Salmon is a stop motion artist, who’s Vine was submitted to the Best Animation category.

Escapistmagazine.com‘s Salmon said,” As soon as I’d made my first Vine, I realized I could animate with it. From then on, the majority of my vines were stop motion. It’s great to have a short finished piece at the end of the night.”

The key demographic for Vine users is 16-24, so it’s no surprise that when I asked the students of Mercy College what their most used apps are, 60 percent of them included Vine in their top five. Many of the students have used the app to document their lives at Mercy College, recording day to day college life in and around New York City. Others have shared the recent extreme weather conditions and some of the business honors students even recorded their 2013 trip to Mount Marcy.

Prof. Michael Perrota, a Media Studies professor at Mercy College, believes that although each classroom and each professor is different, there are advantages to a connection between the students, and that apps like Vine are they way to encourage it. “Personally, I think making a video together builds camaraderie amongst students in a program. We sometimes forget that education is also about a sense of community.”

Using Vine as a way to lighten the spirits of a class or even to make studying that little more interesting can really boost the morale of an entire classroom and can be a useful tool not only in school, but out of it as well.

Student Samantha Ivanoff, 20, doesn’t have a Vine account. “Why do I need it? it’s just more social media for me to waste my life on.”

Students who do have an account follow, “like” and mostly just browse through other peoples content rather than creating their own. Jadean Norman, a business honors student at Mercy College, has never created her own Vine video but is a active viewer of many different vine users and accounts. “I do have a Vine, but I only use it to follow and watch other Viners.”

Vine was one of the most popular apps in 2013. In 2014, it’s easy to say that Vine is the future for online social video sharing, even though you only get six seconds.