I don’t belong on Vine. I’m not weird enough, funny enough, cute enough, talented enough or even remotely daring. I’m not a Bat Dad or a casually mussed crooner, nor am I deeply funny or even oddly so.
I’m a Vine anomaly who toils in relative obscurity and marvels at the Vine stars and their sometimes hundreds of thousands or even millions of follows for endless streams of often inane six-second bits. For most people who use Vine, building up to the necessary reaction dopamine levels is almost impossible. It’s easy to get a Like on Facebook or a Favorite on Tweet. Getting a Like on Vine is somewhat akin to getting a retweet on Twitter. A revine is like gold and quite rare for mere mortals.
In fact, few Vine videos, if any, become truly viral on Vine. That’s not to say they do not drive tens of thousands of Likes, but no one really talks about individual Vine videos as, “did you see that?” moments.
The composition of Vine is unlike any other in social media. There’s a preponderance of crazy quirky characters, slapstick comedy, things that try to pass for comedy (a lot of incredibly sexist jokes), and endless revines of the most mindless and pointless stuff you can imagine. If you want to see people fall in, over and into stuff, get on Vine now.
Celebrities are some of the oddest ducks on Vine. Many, like Selena Gomez (134,000 followers) and Beyonce, revine clips I think they’d hesitate to tweet or share on Facebook. Compared to the most prolific Viners, they produce precious little original content (Gomez has just 10 posts), unlike on Instagram where the photos are usually of them and the Instagram videos are showcases for announcements and their own talents.
With few exceptions, like model and TV host Tyra Banks (half a million followers), Game of Thrones actress Maise Williams (225,000 followers) and actor Josh Peck, who turned his Vine obsession into a new job), celebrities are, in fact, the least interesting part of Vine.
Vine may never be as popular as Twitter or widespread as Facebook, but within its orbit is a vibrant world of characters, content and remarkable success stories.
There are Viners who do things similar to what I do: I call them “The Animators,” but these guys are much, much more skilled and prolific than me. Take Pinot (290,000 followers), a skilled animator whose six-second creations caught the attention of brands like Disney and Samsung.
Pinot’s story is not unusual. Mash profiled Khoa Phan (68,000 followers), an early Vine success story who, like Pinot, could animate the heck out of 6 seconds.
Yet, even these guys are not the true stars of Vine, not the ones who pull in millions of followers for doing things that would, for example, get you kicked out of most any library or polite restaurant.
When Jerome Jarre visited Mashable some time ago, he recreated one of his trademark stunts: yelling at the top of his lungs in a crowded room. Hilarious, right? The guy has 6.5 million Vine followers.
Following any one of these prolific Viners, by the way, can lead you down a rabbit hole of revined lunacy.
I follow QPark (1.9 million followers), who posts comedy bits that are sometimes funny. He revined something from Alexander Holttie (2.1 million followers) whose latest hit, with almost 4,000 likes is “the first time she says ‘I love you,’” which shows him reacting to the news by dancing wildly in a room and then in the shower.
I clicked on Holttie’s name to learn more about him. His first Vine, though, was a revine from TasiaAlexis, which had 116,000 likes and over 66,000 reviews (and almost 3,000 comments).
In it, she acted as someone worried about — I think — getting fat, and then as someone else reacting. She plays both parts:
“Oh my god, I’m getting so fat, I sat down and I have a roll.”
“It’s called skin.”
Obviously, I’m way beyond the demographic that even gets this kind of humor, but those numbers do offer some insight into what plays on Vine. Stuff just like that.
And these are some of Vine’s real stars, some with followings as large as any TV or movie star. Vines stars are so big, in fact, they even have representation (Gary Vaynerchuk’s GrapeStory) and celebrity-sized problems. The platform is full of drama and sadness.
Even with all this Sturm und Drang, it is comedy that really propels Vine forward.
Some of that comedy is what I’d call real comedy. Comedic actor Will Sasso (1.8 million followers) is one of the masters, as is actor Chris Delia (1.5 million followers) and on occasion, musician Nicolas Megalis (4.3 million followers).
Megalis is, like many of the most popular Viners, someone who adopted a different persona for the six-second platform. Others include Anna Clendening (1.2 million followers), whom I saw as a quirky young woman who did silly things and occasionally sang on Vine until she popped up onAmerica’s Got Talent as an aspiring singer with a serious emotional issue.
Then there’s Sunny Mabrey (nearly 700,000 followers). She produces these quirky, funny, often awkward-looking characterizations for her six-second comedy bits. That’s how I knew her until one day I turned on the CBS crime series Reckless, and there she was on the witness stand looking very serious. I kept watching, waiting for her to do something goofy. It never happened. It was a small part, and a look at her IMDB page revealed a long list of credits, but no indication of stardom. Yet on Vine, Maybrey is a star.
The Power of Vine
The thing is, all these Viners toil away because Vine stardom can translate into the real thing. Earlier this week, I met Shawn Mendes. Mendes has almost 3 million followers. He crooned on Vine, and now has a record deal with Island Records.
The kid can really sing, but I don’t think it hurt that he’s good-looking, with perfect teeth and teen-idol hair. With just six seconds to make an impact, looks do matter.
Tags: SOCIAL MEDIA, Twitter, VINE