Vine, the short video platform owned by Twitter, turns three years old this weekend (Jan 24). In commemoration, the company has published a list of the 10 most popular videos—“most-looped,” in Vine parlance—of its third year. (Vine videos are a maximum six seconds long, and loop infinitely.)
The most watched Vine of the year was a short video of the Nov. 13, 2015 France-Germany soccer match in Paris that was interrupted by the sound of an explosion—one of the several terrorist attacks in Paris that night.
The video, which appears to have been ripped from a TV stream—likely without permission, but still live—has been looped about 330 million times. It’s also a good example of Vine’s versatility.
Vine started as a “social video” product, designed to quickly and creatively shoot, edit, and share videos with your friends, primarily via Twitter and Facebook. But it has become very popular as a simple, short video sharing tool, especially for viral sports clips. (Many professional teams and leagues, as a result, use Vine to quickly post highlights.) In this case, the Vine was one of the first videos to spread of the Paris attacks, and was likely embedded in many news articles, increasing its reach.
Vine has also blossomed into a sort of mobile-native entertainment network, with its own celebrities, inside jokes, and memes. One of the most interesting things about Vine—and more broadly, video in the mobile sharing era—has been its oversized impact on popular culture. This is perhaps best illustrated by how one Vine video rapidly popularized the phrase “on fleek” in 2014.
One of those Vine memes started from this year’s second-most-looped video, “Duck Army.”
This Vine has been looped about 150 million times since it was posted on Aug. 30, 2015. That’s less than half the number of loops as the Paris explosion Vine. But it led to a series of “Duck Army” response Vines, many as entertaining as the original.
The third most-looped Vine of the past year was posted only 11 days ago, by BuzzFeed correspondent Kate Aurthur. The video shows actor Leonardo DiCaprio giving Lady Gaga a funny reaction as she walks past at the recent Golden Globe awards. It appears to be a smartphone video recording of a TV screen—a quick and easy way to get television content into Vine—and has not been taken down by NBC, the network that televised the show. The loop has been viewed more than 100 million times.
Most of the rest of the top-10 list are videos of kids, either being cute, vulnerable, or performing embarrassing “fail” accidents. Some are TV rips, while others seem to be original Vines.
Notably, none of the top 10 were posted by any of the most-followed “Viners,” a group of homegrown talent that has built followings in the millions of people. (Recent high school graduate Lele Pons, for example, has more than 10 million Vine followers and more than 7.5 billion cumulative loops.) Perhaps the lesson here is that the Viners are doing some of the more interesting and innovative things with the platform, but a breakout hit still needs to be something more universally accessible or amusing.