Saturday, May 15, 2021

Vine vs TikTok

My attention span is shot. Not to betray my Gen Z roots or anything, but I have an inkling suspicion that it might have a thing or two to do with technology. We’re practically trained to focus on multiple things at the same time for only a handful of seconds before moving on to the next thing that demands our attention, and the global pandemic that has forced us all into a semi-permanent digital realm has done nothing to help my concentrative abilities. 

Even pre-COVID, getting through a 75-minute class period was practically unthinkable without laying a finger on my cell phone. I left my phone in my bedroom for approximately 47 minutes today and forced myself to do homework in the living room and you know what? It HEALED me. I’m likely to never do it again, but the one-time experience was enough for me.

Anyway, all this talk about my lackluster concentration is merely buildup to what this is really about: the best app to ever grace our devices. If you’ve ever held a conversation with me, you probably know where I’m going with this: the one, the only, Vine.

Vine was practically tailored just for me. Each video by design was the PERFECT length for my rapidly decaying attention span. Six seconds? That’s the exact amount of time for my brain to process the video, have a good laugh, and move on to the next clip. 

I recently saw a hot take on Twitter claiming that Vine is not as good as everyone remembers it to be and that the only thing saving it is the nostalgia factor. This is simply false. Vines demonstrate some of the finest storytelling techniques I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, really, when you first think about it–six seconds is hardly enough time to convey…anything. Right?

WRONG. Worlds are built, characters constructed, entire narratives flushed out in a tenth of a minute. Jared? He can’t read. Miss Keisha? She dead, bro. 

Vine left us in October of 2016 and oh boy, now that I see that written out I’m amazed that it has been four and a half years of darkness. I’ll never forget that period in my life when the internet was in a state of uproar at the announcement of Vine’s impending departure; what were we to do without our cherished, irreverent six-second videos?

Enter TikTok. Fun fact that I did not realize until looking it up: TikTok has been around since September 2016, a month before they took Vine off the App Store! Puts it into perspective a bit, at least for me. 

Now, I’ve come to quite like TikTok; at first I steadfastly opposed it on the principle that it was a knockoff of my beloved Vine, but it’s grown on me over time since I’ve learned to appreciate the two platforms as separate entities. 

In case you’re not aware, TikToks can be up to a minute in length. That’s a whole 60 seconds! I could watch ten Vines in that time! Or one Vine ten times! Again, I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy TikTok as much as the next person, but my attention span cannot handle this kind of tomfoolery.

Alright, now I’m going to pull a complete 180: I’m actually thankful that Vine died. You know those TV shows that went on a few seasons too long and just weren’t worth watching anymore? I think that’s the road Vine was heading down, and I’m glad the plug got pulled when it did. 

Besides, it’s 2021 and people are still uploading “Vines That Toast My Buns” video compilations to YouTube. With a legacy like that, can the king ever truly die?

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