How the Nature of Popularity Was Changed by Social Media

There aren’t many aspects of the human experience that haven’t been affected by the mass proliferation of social media over the past decade. From our way we interact with our friends to the way we find our booty calls, age-old rituals are squeezed through a digital prism and come out on the other side looking markedly different than before.

Our lives are so changed by its all-consuming omnipresence that writing about all the ways that social media has reconfigured the world has become a steady stream of income for internet commentators such as myself.

In a recent installment of New York Magazine’s “popular” column – a regular series investigating “the pain and joys of fitting in” – the author assessed the ways that social media has changed the nature of popularity and came to the conclusion that it has made it predictable, boring and more of a job than an enviable social privilege.

This makes sense: with so much money to be made from social media, and many of the methods to grow your following mapped out in widely-available books and online guides, nurturing your social media presence has a professional incentive that often fosters a professional approach. But what doesn’t get mentioned as much is how social media has changed the fundamental nature of popularity by presenting it through a nerd’s-eye-view.

Popularity Is Now Quantifiable

Popularity, as NY Mag points out, used to have an intangible, unquantifiable quality to it. On social media, however, it’s the opposite: easily measured in followers, likes, retweets and all those other metrics that marketers use to calculate engagement. They can be tallied up, assessed and ranked.

It’s cold and logical, like mathematics, because it’s pretty much a digital simulation of human interaction by tech geeks. Social media is how socially-awkward Silicon Valley programmers imagine that socializing looks like in the real world. The accumulation of popularity on social media works much like a video game: with the correct input – a pithy tweet, a sexy Instagram photo, a cat video – you’re rewarded with the positive reinforcement of engagement, and the more engagement you get the more “popular” you are.

It’s all as binary as a computer’s code and doesn’t take into account the many intangible X-factors that define IRL, flesh-and-blood popularity: charisma, social intelligence, learned behaviors, peer approval, genetics and countless other variables. Not that this is much of a surprise: after all, I doubt that Mark Zuckerberg got many nominations for prom king, and if The Social Network is anything to go by, he seems to have less friends than I have Snapchat followers (I don’t have Snapchat).

Popularity on social media is as mechanical as seduction in “Pick Up Artistry” circles, because it’s the result of bookish minds analyzing human behaviors and attempting to break them down into hyper-rational formulae.

This is part of the reason why popularity on social media doesn’t usually translate to popularity into the real world. Sure, some people may be popular on social media precisely because they’re popular IRL or have a huge media presence elsewhere, like, say, Selena Gomez or Kylie Jenner, but digital popularity is so unlike its physical counterpart that it rarely carries over.

Not only that, but our social media profiles are usually false personas; projections of the people that we would like to be rather than reflections of who we really are. You might be able create a really sassy avatar of yourself on Twitter, but that’s because you have the mental space and time to invest a half hour into a single snappy tweet. In the real work you have to be quick-witted and confident; you need a mastery of timing and tone to pull of the same feat.

To stick with the current example, Twitter is medium dominated by journalists. In my professional life I’ve had the opportunity to meet numerous writers that have tens of thousands of followers and have locked down that wry tone that works so well in tweets, and I’ve always been astounded how many of them mumble through sentences and struggle to maintain eye contact when they’re forced to interact with an actual human being.

At its worst, social media is a tool for people to compensate for all the personal or physical qualities that they lack, and Instagram is another good example of this. The internet is full of guides on how to make yourself look more attractive than you actually are, because hot people quite obviously get more follows on a platform that focuses purely on aesthetics. As most of us are aware, though, this doesn’t always carry over to real life. What’s that old saying? “Nobody looks like Victoria’s Secret models, not even Victoria’s Secret models”?

Social Media Popularity Is Really About Sales

In this sense, popularity on social media is, in fact, the polar opposite of popularity in reality: while real-world adoration is something to be craved because it opens doors to parties, sex, career advancement, social capital and all sorts of pleasures, on social media it becomes a cage, trapping us online because the things that make us likable in the digital realm sometimes don’t exist beyond it.

But that’s the thing: popularity on social media and popularity in the real world shouldn’t be discussed on the same terms, because social media ultimately wasn’t made to foster popularity or even sociability, but salability.

Every social media platform is, in essence, a marketing tool. Initially it offers fun incentives to reel in users, and slowly it begins to monetize that audience by acting as an advertising space that links brands to masses of potential consumers.

Just look at Twitter’s short, succinct format: tweets are the perfect vessel for ad copy. Instagram allows us to visually distort our image and adopt the qualities of a billboard. This is intentional: it blurs the divide between advertising and content so that the former is more readily accepted by consumers. We might download ad-blockers or go to the toilet during TV commercial breaks, but on social media we willingly and enthusiastically open ourselves to advertising by following Instagram influencers and, ultimately, by marketing ourselves.

To paraphrase former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher: “marketing is the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.”  By making the personal and the commercial indistinguishable from one another, social media has succeeded in doing exactly that.

Facebook’s New Tool Aims To Stop Revenge Porn

With a set of new tools, Facebook is seeking to stop the spread of revenge porn on its network, the company said on Wednesday.

To help stop intimate photos from being shared without a person’s consent, the social network will implement photo-matching tools that identify reported images and not only take them down from other Facebook News Feeds, but across all Facebook-owned platforms including Messenger and Instagram.

“If someone tries to share the image after it’s been reported and removed, we will alert them that it violates our policies and that we have stopped their attempt to share it,” Facebook said in a company blog post.

This is not the first time Facebook has tried to address revenge porn. However, people have still managed to post and share intimate photos of others without their permission. The most recent high-profile case was of a group of U.S. Marines who were posting nude photos of servicewoman in a secret Facebook group. They eventually moved on to using Snapchat when Facebook cracked down on the groups after they received publicity.

Facebook is not alone in the fight against revenge porn and worked with other online communities to build out the system. The company also hopes to start a domino effect and help other companies in the industry implement similar features.

“We worked with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and other companies to create a one-stop destination for victims and others to report this content to the major technology companies,” Facebook added.

To report a photo that might be considered “revenge porn,” users can click on the ellipses icon next to a post and then “report.” Users will then be asked to provide a reason for reporting the image.

This Alarming Infographic Shows How Much Time We Spend on Social Media

If you’re worried that you might be spending too much time procrastinating on Instagram and Facebook rather than actually doing anything productive, then fear not, for it appears you’re not alone. New statistics on the average person’s social media consumption habits have emerged courtesy of Mediakix, and the results make for some grim reading.

According to the article, global social media marketing spending is set to hit $36 billion this year, with $12.5 billion of that being spent in the U.S and Canada. Two years ago, it’s estimated that people spent more time on mobile apps than they did watching television, and, terrifyingly, the advent of functions such as Facebook Video and Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat Spectacles is only set to increase that growth further.

The infographic below estimates the average person spends five years and four months on socials in a lifetime. Yes, five years. That’s longer than the wait between Frank Ocean albums. Unsurprisingly, Facebook remains the most popular platform, followed by YouTube. Snapchat is in third, but for how much longer given the rise of Instagram stories?

So, what could you be doing instead of perusing the feed of some stranger who you’ve never — and probably will never — meet? You could fly to the moon and back for starters. Scroll below to find out more.

As we said, grim. How much time do you reckon you spend on the above channels? Let us know in the comments.

Social Media Has Created a Generation of Self-Obsessed Narcissists

In the opening scene to cult British movie, Trainspotting, the film’s protagonist, Renton (played by Ewan McGregor,) launches straight into a nihilistic, yet perversely uplifting, tirade against the spiritually bankrupt materialism that had triumphed in Britain throughout the Margaret Thatcher years.

“Choose life,” advised the now-famous monologue. “Choose a big fucking television, washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers,” it continued, before descending into a dressing down of the consumerist condition.

It was a perfect diagnosis of the state of the nation as 18 long, brutal years of uninterrupted Conservative Party rule drew to a close, and it would be remembered forever as a pop cultural epitaph for this defining period in British history. Then in January 2017, a full 20 years later, Trainspotting got itself a sequel.

Set two decades after the original, it was accompanied by yet another Renton rant that had been updated for the modern era. “Choose life,” it went. “Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares.

Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently,” then lining up an assortment of other modern malaises. Although it fails to live up to the original, and the social media angle has been dismissed as “superficial” in certain corners of the internet, I can’t think of anything more appropriate for 2017.

A decade since the mass-proliferation of Facebook, I challenge you to name a single development that has shaped mass culture in that period as much as social media.

It has changed the way we communicate, it facilitated the victory of Donald Trump, has separated us into reality-distorting bubbles, elicits an addiction-like response in the human brain, and threatens to destroy the news industry.

Listing all the ways that it has altered our world is a fool’s errand, as is tracing all of its side-effects, but there is an argument that I will make: it has turned an entire generation into vapid narcissists.

From deceptive selfie angles that make average-looking people appear attractive, to curating your Facebook feed so it looks like you’re having more fun than you actually are, social media has taken neoliberalism’s self-centered mantra and pumped it full of cocaine-laced steroids.

While Thatcher and Reagan may have promoted greedy self-interest that Renton lampooned in the original Trainspotting, social media has bloated humanity’s capacity for self-obsession to new extremes.

Silicon Valley tech barons and Snapchat-obsessed teenagers who rarely venture outside of their bedrooms might argue that social media makes the world more interconnected (and no one can deny that it does), yet those connections shouldn’t be mistaken for any sort of collectivism.

All social media platforms are comprised of a mass of individuals competing against each other for followers, likes, retweets, favorites, and whichever other show of approval exists out there rather than any sort of collective goal.

Sure, this isn’t its only purpose, and plenty of benign interaction occurs without any sort of agenda, but there are masses upon masses of people who utilize it as a means of projecting an idealized version of themselves out into the world – an avatar of the person that they wish they were, rather than who they are in reality.

It’s logical that such an extreme focus on the self has a tendency to spill over into self-obsession, but this goes far beyond people taking too many photos of themselves and treating every action as a hashtagging opportunity. Every life event, however irrelevant to their social media audience, becomes a source of self-promoting content.

Consider the utterly ridiculous phenomenon of people wishing their parent a happy birthday even though that parent isn’t on Facebook.

I doubt that anyone would be able to explain why they do it, because it’s likely a reflexive behavior: they’ve learned that sharing gets them validation, which feels good, so they continue to share. Every like and retweet gives the brain a small rush of dopamine comparable to a tiny hit of coke.

This is why people pathetically attach #tagsforlikes #likeforlikes and #likes4likes to their Instagram photos. The yearning for validation is so pronounced that it has spawned an entire exchange economy where people pimp themselves out to the world, offering to repay insincere engagement with equally insincere engagement. The sentiment doesn’t matter as long as that little ego-affirming notification bubble pops up on their screens.

The cynicism that social media has fostered is staggering. As you might know, Highsnobiety is based in Berlin. In the December of last year, an Islamic fundamentalist drove a truck through a Christmas market in the west of the city, killing 12 and injuring 56 in the process.

Facebook – with its long, all-reaching finger that’s constantly on the pulse of global events – added a check-in feature that allowed its Berlin-based users to let everyone know that they’re safe, so they don’t have to reply to worried friends or relatives individually. I’m not going to dispute that this was helpful, but it’s what happened after that made me groan.

The more avid social media users in my feed (you know the types, they’re usually the same infantile clowns that use Snapchat’s dog filter) all rushed to give their take on the tragedy, to tell the world how they felt about it.

I struggle to remember everybody who did this and I’m not going to go through the feed of everyone that I know, but I will use the example that sticks out most in my mind. One of my Facebook friends wrote: “I’m okay, but at least nine people aren’t. And that’s not okay.”

Yes, mass murder is not OK, just as the snow is cold and the chemical formula for carbon dioxide is CO2. What purpose does this serve apart from confirming to other Facebook users that you’re not a sociopath? The response, of course.

The ego-validating likes. The comments. The attention. There are no doubt people reading this right now who would label me a cynic, but I think the real cynicism is how human tragedies have been converted into content for Facebook and a promotional opportunity for the people using it.

Others would dismiss as normal human behavior what people have always engaged in: conversation, collective mourning, the voicing of opinions. The only thing that separates it from a post-funeral wake, they would have you believe, is the medium.

Superficially, yes, they are correct, but there’s a fundamental difference here: before the digital era these were behaviors we engaged in discretely with people who have direct relevance to our lives. Social media is a very public forum.

The Facebook user who I quoted above wasn’t simply voicing their condolences for the people who died, they were placing themselves within the context of the tragedy. The focus wasn’t solely on the dead, but also their feelings or thoughts on what happened.

The same thing happened after the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, when Facebook enabled users to layer a translucent French flag over their profile pictures.

Its purpose was to send out a hollow show of solidarity with those who died, their families and all the French people that survived either through chance or geography.

I remember getting into an argument with one self-absorbed twat who genuinely believed that his one-click display of empathy could somehow make the next-of-kin feel a tiny bit better after having their loved ones murdered.

As if anyone at any other point in history would have thought to themselves “God this is horrifying, but I would feel a little bit better right now if I knew that millions of people around the world were draping my country’s flag over their faces.” Yes, because the best way to distract from emotional anguish is with unimaginative jingoism.

But is this really any different to the age-old practice of leaving flowers and candles at the scene of a tragedy, as people did here in Berlin after December’s attack? Yes, because that requires physical engagement and quantifiable investment into said tragedy.

There’s almost a religious aspect to the pilgrimage that you have to make to the location, even if it’s just across the street from where you live. There’s a tiny element of sacrifice to buying a candle or a flower that demands more effort than simply typing out a Facebook status or a tweet.

It’s an anonymous ritual because no one can tell who left what. It’s the polar opposite of grief on social media, which is vulgar herd behavior that siphons attention away from the dead and redirects it to the “grieving;” behavior that is, as I established earlier, rewarded with the currency of engagement.

Furthermore, old-school, analog grief can’t be monetized by some tax-dodging Silicon Valley conglomerate that created these features not out of sincerity, but because they serve their business model.

Now I don’t want to shame people for what is instinctive, almost unconscious behavior (and if that Facebook friend of mine that I quoted above happens to be reading: nothing personal, you were just the most memorable example) but that’s the point: these tech giants have quietly crept into our minds and rewired our brains.

They have engineered a generation of self-obsessed narcissists – us – while we were distracted by our search for Kony. Registration might be free, but long-term use quite evidently comes at a price.

Instagram Users Can Now Upload Up to 10 Photos, Videos at Once

Instagram users will now be able to upload up to 10 photos and videos per post. Followers can view the stories by swiping through a carousel of images. In a press release, the company explained that the new features will allow for more complex stories and an easier user experience: “You no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember,” the company said. “Now, you can combine up to 10 photos and videos in one post and swipe through to see them all.” This also solves the common Instagram problem of users uploading many separate posts, and clogging up your Instagram feed. We all know that one person who just can’t stop posting photo after photo of their dog/baby/favorite new coffee shop.

The ability to upload multiple images and videos into one single post is actually not that new to Instagram. In fact, Instagram has had the feature for years, but it was only available to their advertisers. The company hinted at bringing the carousel feature to regular users, and today they’ve finally made the feature available to everyone. The Verge explains how to use it:

To create a carousel, you tap a new icon that mimics a photo stack. From there, you select the photos and videos you want to include. To change the order of the posts, you tap, hold, and drag. You can edit your photos and videos individually or as a group, but you only get one caption and location tag for your post. (Likes and comments are all grouped under the complete post, too.)

You can view Instagram’s Instagram post on the subject below, and experience the new feature for yourself. It’s pretty neat—anything that makes the social media experience slightly less annoying is okay with us.

‘Friending’ Your Ex on Social Media Could Doom Your Current Relationship

This Valentine’s Day, you’re likely doing one of two things: Celebrating the success of your present relationship, or ignoring the fact that you aren’t in one. (Both of these are fine positions to be in on a consumer holiday such as this one!) Regardless of where you’re at on the commitment spectrum, a new study has some solid advice for anyone using social media: Don’t “friend” your ex.

Joyce Baptist, a Kansas State University marriage and family therapy associate professor, found that crossing relationship boundaries online can cause serious damage. In a study of nearly 7,000 couples who use social media, Baptist found that for couples in which one or both partners communicated with someone they find physically attractive online, which she labeled “boundary crossing,” the more damage can be done to the relationship.

But before you go trolling your SO’s Facebook account for evidence of shady behavior, the study says there’s a difference between “boundary crossing” and what Baptist calls “boundary violation.”

A crossing is when a partner brushes a proverbial guard rail, possibly by having platonic but frequent contact with another individual he or she finds attractive. Boundary violation, on the other hand, may be emotional or physical infidelity, Baptist says.

Without an honest conversation outlining these “guard rails,” or what both partners feel is or isn’t appropriate behavior online, then someone can easily have their feelings hurt by what their partner does on social media. Furthermore, the study found that while some people accepted that their partner interacted or flirted with an ex online, it didn’t necessarily mean they were cool with it.

“Although they may say, ‘I trust you and it’s OK,’ they are not happy about it,” Baptist said. “They eventually perceive that their significant other is spending too much time connecting with others on social media rather than paying attention to their own partner.”

And that perceived threat may not be so innocent after all. “Keeping lines of communication open with former significant others can become a slippery slope,” the study found, “because relationships naturally have peaks and valleys. During a relationship’s lower points, a person may be tempted to confide in a previous partner.”

So what’s the best way to ensure your partner isn’t harboring some kind of grudge about you liking your ex’s Facebook status? Use your words. Describe what you’re comfortable with rather than what you’ll merely put up with. According to the study, Baptist says “couples ought to share not only what they are willing to tolerate but also what they would prefer so the couple can create a secure and satisfying relationship.”

Twitter Overhauls Their Abuse Tools And Starts Blocking Trolls

Is Twitter the worst cesspool on the internet? Between the harassment campaigns, the utterly creepy behavior of, say, Martin Shkreli, and just the fact that seeing an egg avatar makes many people either roll their eyes or shudder, it can definitely feel like it. Over the last year, though, Twitter seems to have finally gotten the memo and it’s adding some new tools to keep the assorted clowns and trolls at bay.

The company is rolling out three changes to limit abuse. First, the company says it’s “taking steps” to find people who are consistently abusive and enforce that permanent ban the abusers keep trying to get around with new accounts. The second and third changes mostly have to do with search and what you see. Soon, when you search a hashtag or a term on Twitter, you won’t automatically see garbage from blocked or muted accounts. Over the next few weeks, “low quality” and abusive replies will also be collapsed and thus harder to find in conversation threads.

While this isn’t the booting of the neo-Nazis many would like to see, it’s a useful set of tools on paper. But we won’t know how effective it is until the next hate-fueled hissy fit.

Study Discovers Millennials Aren’t the Biggest Users of Social Media

Millenials, or those aged from 18 to 34, are often saddled with a lot of unfair and unnecessary blame. Thanks to a new Nielson report, they just got some ammunition against those who’d scold them for being glued to social media. According to the report, Generation Xers, or those between the ages of 35 to 49 spend more time on social media than their younger peers. The numbers boiled down to an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks for Gen X, compared to 6 hours 19 minutes for the Millenials.

Regardless of who is using Facebook a few more minutes a day, it is clear that the noses of either demographic are too often stuck in front of a screen. Smartphones should enhance our lives, not dictate who we talk to, what we devote attention to, and monopolize how we interact with the world.

The Time Well Spent movement was formed to make people more conscious of how large a part social media is playing in their lives. The tenents of the movement are to “Live better with more empowering settings for our media and devices.; change incentives so media competes to improve our lives, not get eyeballs,” and to “invent new interfaces that help us to make room for what matters.”

So whether you’re a Millenial, Gen Xer, Boomer, or otherwise, we should all work to allow our devices to enhance our lives.

How I Left Social Media In Order To Salvage My Sanity

I’ve been screaming my opinions at the world via the internet for a solid decade now. Back in the day, I discovered WordPress, which I filled with my views, shoddy political analysis, and banter (which I directed at other people on my blog). Then Facebook opened up! And Twitter! And Instagram! And you could link them. I have now spent a solid decade getting positive reinforcement and criticism — at least someone cares! — from strangers online.

But this is the year I have to stop.

Social media has brought us all together. But perhaps it’s brought us just a little too close. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram make it easier than ever to plug in and experience a firehose of anger, joy, fear, and “like” (love is a little strong, perhaps) with the tap of a thumb or a few keystrokes. But in a world where Twitter can facilitate digital hate crimes and Facebook is struggling to keep the news legit, let alone civil, does it make sense to turn off the firehose altogether?

In 2014, after Facebook “unzipped” Facebook Messenger, I removed the app. I still look at Facebook, of course, but my primary distraction over the last few years has been Twitter, where, in the space of a few short years, I’ve racked up thousands of tweets. In a lot of ways Twitter is the perfect intellectual treadmill: Read a snippet of a thought, click like, retweet, and move on to the next snippet. My Twitter timeline is a sea of RTs and favs.

Over the last few months, though, Twitter hasn’t exactly been a source of joy. The issue, really, is that the election threw everyone who fancies themselves a smart person (pretty much anyone with a computer and an opinion) a giant hunk of red meat tinged with panic to gnaw on. I discovered that my anxiety grew rapidly via the platform. Twitter, for all its flaws, is an excellent way to get these concerns, and opinions on them, front and center.

So I started tweeting, RTing, and sharing to make my voice heard. At the same time I started having trouble sleeping and began feeling more anxious and miserable over other’s petty unsubstantiated opinions an comments.

It’s not a secret that social media can affect our mental health. Since the inception of Facebook, we’ve discovered that social media can make us depressed, exhaust us physically, and leave us anxious, but it might also have positive impacts on self-esteem and be a place to connect for people with mood disorders and other struggles, offering a support network. It’s really all about fitting these new(ish) platforms into your life in a healthy way.

“People use social media for an experience, to feel a greater depth of feelings: to feel more connected, to laugh, to share things they’re proud of, to be jointly enraged,” she says. “We connect on social media for the same reasons we connect with people in real life: to feel something. And the opposite is also true: Social media can also be used not to amplify emotions, but to deaden them.”

That was really the thing I experienced. Even before the election, something was always on fire on Facebook and Twitter; there was always something to be angry about, and it was constant, never-ending.

Twitter is very, very good at surfacing news, and the old adage of “If it bleeds, it leads” holds true. Unless you fill your feed with kittens, puppies and cute overload — and that’s a valid strategy — if your friends are watching the news, they’re going to share it with you. In some ways, that’s a good thing, but it also means you’re constantly seeing something else that leaves you aghast.

What struck me was that I didn’t think about any of this or the impact that my immersion in social media was having on my psyche. When a friend asked me, point blank, whether I’d considered just deleting Twitter off my phone, the answer was “No, I just haven’t.” At all. Looking at it, and looking at my Twitter usage, it occurred to me that Twitter fit so seamlessly and easily into my life — a series of pellets fed to me so that I’d make more pellets for others to consume — and that there was so little tangible cost to using it, that I simply hadn’t thought about the intangible costs. I recommend logging out completely, so “when you pick up your phone to check your page, you’re confronted with the log-in screen, rather than your home page. There’s a barrier between you and the pleasurable reward of your notifications.”

The idea of removing Twitter from my phone, when I seriously considered it, didn’t fill me with fear; it filled me with relief. I can’t delete my Twitter account entirely — Twitter is great for getting your writing in front of eyeballs — but for a long moment I had to ask myself whether having it on my phone worth it. Was having it sitting there, tempting me to get on the discourse treadmill every night, rewarding me? It wasn’t. Into the fire it went (literally).

The results were almost immediate. I stopped getting sucked into tweeting and posting until the wee hours, of course, but I also managed to get a little distance between myself and the nonsense everyone spews forth. I tweet less and I tweet more judiciously. I still get enraged when I come across idiots posting on the many pages I manage for work, but they don’t drag on for hundreds of tweets and/or comments.

I’m still anxious. I’m still afraid for my daughters’ futures, worried about the direction of the country, and sometimes spend an hour fuming over amateur politics that anger total strangers on the internet. But I’m sleeping better, and I’ve found that if I only use social media during work hours, I’m still informed, but less angry, mostly because I no longer get into pointless fights with total strangers, and immature people I allegedly thought I knew. I do not miss the treadmill, and I find I can more easily set aside my worries for a few hours to sleep if I’m not constantly being reminded they exist.

Vine Is About to Make Its Official Exit, Will Become a Camera App

Back in October 2016, Twitter announced that it was shutting down the popular 6-second video sharing service Vine. The company has now announced that the video service app will be officially discontinued on January 17. To take its place, the Vine camera app will provide a similar service allowing users to make 6.5 second looping videos that can be saved or posted to Twitter. The app won’t support social sharing to the Vine community as we know it, instead functioning essentially as an offline creation-oriented app. Users will have until January 17 to download their Vines. After that, vine.co will become an archive of clips, allowing you to view all of the Vines ever created.