It’s been a rough morning for Twitter. Shortly after the ubiquitous, essential, yet still somehow struggling communication platform announced that it would be laying off 9% of its workforce, the axe fell on one of its more notable side-ventures: Vine, that haven for six-second videos of people’s cats falling off of refrigerators or of close-ups on certain parts of the TV during news broadcasts, would be shutting down its mobile app in the coming months, and no longer accepting uploads. (The announcement included the news that the website would stay up, so previously uploaded Vines would remain in something resembling perpetuity–although an ominous “You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website” means you should probably download your Vines now, if you want them for posterity’s sake.)
Vine launched in 2012, and it was an important part of the Internet’s evolution into a place where creativity could be unleashed in extremely short bursts. A six-second maximum per video sounded like a very short time at the launch of the service, but users quickly found ways to make that work for them quite well: the best Vines were built around a single audio/video gag, whether the set-up for them was simple or elaborate, and offered a quick, unexpected outcome. They focused on economy in executing on ideas–with six seconds, but the ability to edit on the fly, you had to get a lot done in fractions of seconds–and they gave a lot of very creative people a platform to make things that were really friggin’ funny. Vine wasn’t a platform with a ton of utility outside of comedy–the videos were too short to gain a ton of traction for incidents of, say, police brutality–but as a way to tap into unrealized creative potential, Vine was a powerhouse.
It will be survived by its parent company, Twitter, as well as siblings in spirit including Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. In lieu of donations, please Tweet your favorite Vines of the past, and watch some of ours below.