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Social Media Subcultures: Vine

To begin, Vine is a mobile app from Twitter where people take and share 6-second long videos. A single touch can start and stop recording, creating hilarious and interesting clips.

After debuting in January 2013, Vine has become increasingly popular, and has helped many non-household names rise to fame. There has been a subculture created through Vine, through which many stars have risen. These stars are people just like you and I, often paying bills, attending school, or working on a daily basis. They just happen to be funny enough for us all to watch, over…and over…..and over again. The Viners (that’s what they’re called…Viners; those who Vine) often produce videos that are relatable and therefore garner attention from their audience.

When you watch as many Vines as I do (hopefully the same as the normal Vine member…) you learn different things about the people who post the Vines. Marissa Mayne, for example, lives with her Grandmother, Linda (who can be a little grumpy at times). You can learn something about the dynamics of someone’s family, something you otherwise wouldn’t know, just by watching what they post on Vine. Aside from acting as a source of entertainment, Vine provides insight to the lives of all different kinds of people.

Who wouldn’t want and immediate group of funny and relatable friends? That’s pretty much what viners become. Not only do they become people that you share a common experience with, but they also foster relationships with each other. In some cases, without Vine, the pseudo-celebrities would not have even met, and in other cases they even date each other. Many Viners meet through collaborations, and some even end up dating (though some not for too long).

Vine Celebrities have a lot of power and influence over their audience. For instance, they snap their fingers, post on Twitter and Vine, pick a particular space, and within hours a Super Vine has begun. A Super Vine, otherwise known as a Vine-meet up, is when hundreds to thousands of fans and other Viners show up in person to meet Vine stars and record it via Vine, creating thousands of posts of the meet up. This audience includes people of every shape, size, and demographic. This was brought to my attention when I attended my first Vine Meet Up in Rockefeller Park in New York City. I first learned about the meet up through a post on Twitter. A boy who I follow on Twitter retweeted a post originally created by Jessi Smiles, of Vine fame. It caught my attention, and before I knew it I was looking through the list of Viners to see who I recognized, and who I would possibly even like to meet. Looking over the list of Viners who were going to be present at the meet up, I found various names that I knew, and many people who I looked forward to possibly meeting.

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The term “meet up” may lead you to believe that it is a relaxed, public environment to hang out with your favorite Vine pseudo-celebrities. This is not the reality of the situation. As we approached Rockefeller Park, my friend and I realized exactly what we were getting ourselves into. The park was filled with various mobs of teenagers surrounding what we recognized as the beloved Viners. A bit overwhelmed by the massive presence of teenagers from the ages of 13+, we decided to sit back and just observe. This is not to say that we were not excited to meet some of our favorite Viners who we knew would be there, because as soon as we felt comfortable enough, we approached them and were able to snap some selfies.

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The viners that get the most recognition, because of the entertainment value of their Vines, are what we peasants would call “Vine famous.” They were the ones who were most visibly swarmed with people, and who got the most attention at the meet up. They belong to an elite group of people who provide a comedic commentary to our everyday lives and experiences. This simple app pushes these normal people like you and I into celebrity status. And when I say celebrity, I mean celebrity. Everything that comes along with it: the autographs, the obsessions, the attention walking down the street, etc. They’ve even been offered amazing opportunities and been given great exposure when it comes to getting jobs or becoming sponsors and promoters for particular products.

One of the greatest developments that I have discovered because of Vine is the creation and growth of Niche, a company that describes itself as a “Technology platform built for creators, by creators.” After having seen various links to Niche through Vines, Instagram accounts, and Twitter, it has become apparent that this start up company utilizes the talents of various famous Viners. They take advantage of their creative talents in order to “acquire new users, develop audience, generate buzz and solicit engagement.

 

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There is without a doubt a hierarchy among the Viners, whether recognized or unspoken, and this was visible in the (slightly) controlled environment that was the Vine meet up. As my friend and I watched people swarm around the most notable Viners, I recognized one boy, Zach Cooper, slightly less famous but still visible on Vine nonetheless, standing to the side. After realizing he wasn’t getting as much attention as the others, my friend and I approached him and asked to take a picture of him. We felt an obligation to let him know that we knew who he was, and that in a sense, we appreciated him.

There were two particular aspects of the meet up that stood out to me. First, while observing this chaotic experience, one realizes that in most cases, fans are referring to the Viners by their online identities. There they are, standing right in front of you, a person with a first and last name like the rest of us, and still, we refer to them as their online social media identity. Their online identity becomes their brand—the way they are known to the public.

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After reflecting on how apprehensive we were to approach Viners such as Landon Moss and Robby Ayala (pictured left), I realized that out nervousness was misplaced. These particular Viners are two people that are our age. They are hilarious in their own right, but they are people just like my friend and I, the only difference being that they were able to gain notoriety with the help of this particular social media outlet.

So, let’s get down to the facts (in case you too want to be Vine famous). These people who Vine and are therefore Viners, become noteworthy and therefore are Vine Famous. They often spend time writing and thinking about what they are going to Vine far before they actually film it.

With only six seconds to get the public’s attention, you really have to push yourself to be relatable, funny and creative. Be original, be you. Create one ongoing personality and stick to it. Make yourself a brand; that’s what they all did.

I’ll leave you with a few interesting questions—when we look back, how will we describe this growing fame of individuals who post 6 second videos to our kids? Our grandkids? Will we have to, or will it continue to grow?

If you want to be famous, get going. Create and share. Who knows who could be the next rising star!

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