Twitter cuts Vine—six second-stars mourn

Brandon Calvillo and Jon Paul Piques are two of the thousands of creators to start their internet career on the popular video-sharing app, Vine. 

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Brandon Calvillo was a 19-year-old sandwich artist at Subway when he discovered the new app Vine while listening to his favorite podcast.

Calvillo was three months into the job and content with it. But he came home one night after downloading the app and spent hours continuously watching the six-second videos, he said. 

He was shocked that he was still awake when dawn broke. He went back to making subs, but his mind was preoccupied with comedic video narratives. 

“I would always look forward to my break because I could watch videos of people being creative and making me laugh in such a short amount of time,” Calvillo said. 

From then on, he began to make videos on his break and at home with his family. His brother and mother made frequent appearances in his videos. 

Over the next three years, Calvillo  gained 6.5 million followers and his videos garnered more than 3 billion replays, or “loops.” Vine became a cultural phenomenon, and Calvillo was one of the users at the center of it. 

But, in an Oct. 27 post on the story-sharing site, Vine’s parent company, Twitter, announced it was shutting down the app. The videos would still be available on the website, but no new ones would be added. Fans of the app expressed shock on all social media platforms. 

“I never expected it to go away,” said Jonathan Miranda, a 26-year-old Vine fan who lives in Chicago. “It started so many new, young careers. It was a key thing that [is now] going away.” 

When Twitter first bought Vine in 2012, it was unavailable to the public, according to an Oct. 28 report posted by Rasty Turek, the founder and CEO of, a data-sharing site that includes trends in the online community and music industry. The app reported a decrease from more than 30 million uploads in the spring of 2013 to 2.1 million in January 2016, according to the same report.  

“I don’t think Vine knew what it wanted to be when it first launched,” Calvillo said. “It was all the creators that made it this comedic tool, and I don’t know if Vine was prepared for all the attention it was going to get.” 

However, many Viners expected the end and left last year. Shortly after the announcement, a Business Insider report claimed big-name Viners had asked for $1.2 million to create 12 pieces of monthly original content. 

Jon Paul Piques, one of the Viners listed as calling the meeting with top executives at Vine and who has 3.1 million Vine followers under the name Piques, said the number came out of nowhere. 

“It was never about ,‘Vine should pay us X amount of money or we are leaving the app,’” Piques said. “That is the misconception that people have right now who think we held Vine hostage.” 

The app’s officials called the meeting after noticing content had been plummeting, Piques said. Two years after its  launch some of the top influencers would try to reach people from within the company because they had glitches on their accounts.

“There was never any attempt from Vine to bring anyone to their head office,” Piques said. “There was no communication between Vine and its influencers.” 

As a result, Piques said it led to a lot of frustration within the Vine community. Both Piques and Calvillo found out Vine’s fate like everyone else: through the news.

“I jumped ship early,” said Piques, who left the app in 2015. “As soon as I saw a leak, I was gone.” 

Piques turned to Instagram and Facebook for better success. His Facebook page has 8 million likes, and he is now one of the sites top-paid content creators.

Calvillo continued making content for the app until the end despite spending less time on it than when he first started out. He posted his last video on Oct. 30, simply titled “The End.”

“It was very hard to film and edit,” Calvillo said. “I almost cannot watch it anymore because I cry every time.”

Fans commented on the four-minute video saying that while it saddened them, they were happy he made it. It was almost like therapy for them and himself, he added. 

Calvillo made money over the course of his Vine career, but for a kid who always used comedy as a defense mechanism in high school, Calvillo said he has been emotionally prepared for Vine to end. He has recently taken to creating more long-term work including the films “FML” and “The Last Job.” 

“I always thought of Vine like I think of most things in life,” Calvillo said. “If something good is happening in your life, you really need to cherish the moment because it is going to go away.”