Do you Vine?

Vine, a mobile app that describes itself as “a world of beautiful, looping videos” has been around for a year and a half and yet is still unknown to most of the digital world. A year and a half can be an eternity; especially considering the mobile app Snapchat had already skyrocketed into fame by that point.

But Vine isn’t really unknown, and definitely not dead (yet), because unlike Snapchat it has a large underground community that lives and breathes in six second comedic, looping video clips.

It was less than a year ago when our own team met up with Vine star Matty Cox, who is a fellow Jersey Shore kid like the rest of us, and we learned how popular Vine really was and how Viners were even cashing in on their success with brand partnerships.

Grape Story, founded by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk along with his brother AJ and famous (and smiley) Viner Jerome Jarre, was created solely for the purpose of connecting brands with famous Viners. We’re sure you probably don’t know who Nash Grier is, so you’d be surprised to know that this blue-eyed teen’s “Vine rate” is set at a whopping $25,000. Of course, that rate was set back in March when he had a little over 6 million followers and as of now he is heading very close to 9 million fans. That rate was also set before his controversial homophobic slur that made headlines recently.

But there’s more to this social community than dollar signs for marketers. It’s a way for fans to express themselves, find new friends, and even find love. When we had met up with Matty Cox we spoke with him about his then Vine-founded relationship with fellow Viner Julia Abner.

Vine has also made a lot of headlines , from TMZ to Rolling Stone, due to the short-lived relationship between Curtis Lepore and Jessi Smiles that abruptly ended when Smiles accused Lepore of rape. Lepore’s plea deal made the news as everyone took sides for “Team Jessi” or “Team Curtis.” Smiles’ first Vine after the news broke about the rape allegations acquired over 48K likes.

Smiles’ fellow Viner and friend, Jen Dent, recently co-authored a book, “Vine Stories: How an App Changed Our Lives,” a compilation of stories from fans who feel that Vine became, “the first time that they have publicly expressed their problems, hopes, fears, and dreams” as per their Amazon description. On May 30, 2014, the book became the #1 Best Seller for the Art and Pop Culture sections on Amazon.

Then there’s Viner Allie Helms, known on the platform as “Ima Pube.” While she has not grown to the same popularity as Jessi Smiles, she certainly has her own growing fan base thanks to her videos about her character Ima Pube, as well as her often theatrical and artistic Vines. Helms is currently in production on, “Viner: A Documentary Film” thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.

“I’ve met the best people that I never even knew were out there, “ said Helms on her documentary website after moving to Los Angeles thanks to raising $11,670 on Kickstarter for her documentary that seems to be funded primarily from the Vine community. “It blows my mind daily that I was able to connect with such an array of humans. They accepted me. They helped me gain hope for humanity.”

For brands, there is a lot to say about the risk of putting your money behind real people. After all, real people make mistakes, grow up, move on, change careers, and so on. From Smiles and Curtis’ relationship, to Grier’s homophobic slur, and even the adorable Ben and Harley coming to an end after Ben split up with Harley’s mother – it’s difficult to put any worth behind these personalities as a brand. Or maybe even emotionally as a fan.

Either way, Vine has certainly been a strong community for comedians, artists, writers, and essentially anyone who wants to create something unique. It may not be as talked about as Snapchat or Instagram, but to the people who are a part of it, it’s only getting started.

Which leads us to ask again, “Do you Vine?”

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