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Vine's New Search Function Is a Portal into the Internet's Collective Insanity

A data-driven look at how Vine users work.

In its 13 months of existence, Vine has gone from seizure-inducing game changer to rapid-delivery porn portal to, well, a portrait into our collective inability to use social media as anything but a platform for our insanity. I still think Vine is a fantastic concept—if you prefer Instagram video, that's fine too—but from a structural standpoint, it's been a slow evolution from novelty app to bonafide network.


Today, however, Vine announced perhaps its most important update yet: The service's internet website,, has been updated to be more user-friendly. Users can now make playlists, explore trending topics, and check out Vine channels, which were previously relegated to the app. It also has a new TV function, which essentially plays all the videos in a tag in an unending stream, which is both cool and more than a bit spastic.

But what really stood out was the addition of a more intuitive search function, including locaton-based search, which doesn't require you to even be logged in to use. (That means any old Joe can go scrolling through Vines, a potential boon for recruiting new users, but yeah, your Vines just got more public.)

The app has had search for some time now, but for people like me, who largely use the app as a method of delivering video of The X-Files to Twitter, the improved search may go a way towards building Vine's presence as a video-sharing community, even if apps rule the mobile web.

But the one thing that stuck out to me when touring the new browser-based Vine search is that it shares how many results are pegged to an individual tag, something the Android app (as far as I can tell) doesn't do. That fountain of data means we can now, for the first time ever, do a data-driven look at how Vine users work.

Embarrassing Bodily Function Ultimate Cage Match

Comedy is a large driver of Vine's success, and what's funnier in six seconds than poop? I'm more shocked that anyone actually posted a video with "polite sneeze" in the description. And naturally, one of those vines involves ghosts. I've heard people argue for insane valuations of social networks because, essentially, you have no idea what's possible once you've got tens of millions of people all on one platform. While that may be true, the possibilities of largesse mostly revolve around people posting literally every possible thing, no matter how strange.


lol i'm crazy

I actually named this section first, and then went back to add "lol i'm crazy" to my search because it's simply too funny to ignore. People really dig being weird and crazy, which is probably how an asinine trend like normcore got started. (Not that wearing Coors Light t-shirts and dad jeans is bad, but labeling it as a pushback to flamboyance is pretty peacock-like on its own, right?) Anyway, the weirdest thing I could find was actually in the normcore realm. What the hell is up with this cat, is it stuffed?

Cat v. Dog

The cat-versus-dog deathmatch for internet popularity has raged for ages, and once again, here's conclusive proof that dogs are more popular online.

Fail v. Success

A couple weeks ago I wrote as many words as I could about why the internet is so obsessed with people's failures, but it's pretty stark to see the split across Vine. But yeah, there's a certain beauty to things like this:

Iron Maiden v. Judas Priest

I admit not a lot of thought went into this one, I just happened to have "Hellion" stuck in my head. But this is pretty impressive:

What People Put On Their Heads

The fedora is a cultural touchstone, even if no one's sure if anyone actually wears them outside of artifact-laced JPEGs from 2003, or even what a fedora actually is. But bonnets? I had no idea so many people were killing it in the bonnet game right now.

Final Battle: Trending Micromemes

Everyone wants to be the guy/girl who invented the next planking—and probably will just claim they were regardless—so there's a nearly endless stream of micromemes that arise and die in violently Darwinian fashion; thankfully, we're able to parse through the fossil record without much effort. Whaling is the new up-and-comer, and it's pretty damn funny. But I'm going to go ahead and share lizarding, and just call it a day.