Vine gave me some problems last week. The Twitter-owned video service, which allows iPhone users to easily post six-second clips, struck me as plain odd. I didn't know what to think about something so banal, how to even consider it as important enough to write about. Because it isn't.
And yet here I am. Vine is a natural extension of the sharing impulse. It's "Instagram for video," as we've been told by everyone with a keyboard since it launched on Thursday. It probably is, but that just means it's another outlet for people to show you their name on a Starbucks cup in a manner that makes them feel important. Ergo, it's likely to harbour as much value as wrapping a baby's backside in shiny toilet paper. Vine is hairless baboons showing their glowing posteriors to other hairless baboons. It is a group of rich goldfish endlessly looping their crystal bowls with dizzying stupidity.
The problem with Vine - and therefore with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest - is its nauseating mundanity. A friend of mine went as far as to describe it as "unhealthy," in that this type of social media allows the ordinary person to believe in their personal ability when they are, in fact, as adept at artistic production as George Osborne is at finance. People honestly believe - get this - that their lives matter. They believe their realities are deep, rich, fertile oceans of ideas and creative fluidity, that they wake up to days to which they're individually entitled. They don't consider for a second that the closest they will ever come to "creative fluidity" is mopping up after one of the pets they're so fascinated with showing to the world. While making a vine of the process, obviously.
People share the aspects of their amazing lives they consider most enriching in an effort to gain congratulation from their peers. Their existences have meaning, yes? Well, "friends," this is why! Here is my baby, my coffee, my dog. Here is some snow in a carpark. Here is my computer. Here is my garden. Here is the vacuous reality of my biological imprisonment: I believe that creating a six-second video of my child's face on my iPhone is in some way viable. My life is viable. Vine proves it.
You all follow Instagram-My-Expensive-Food-Guy, right? And Blog-My-Baby-Woman? How about Here's-All-My-Work-This-Week-Writer? You'll soon be blankly consuming Vine-My-Walk-To-Work-Dude. They're people telling you their lives have depth, that they're fabulous. Giant. Baboon's. Bottom.
Vine panders to the human ego sickness, the digital equivalent of hanging a mirror above a urinal. I'm as guilty of this as anyone, what with my Twitter followers, my Facebook friends and my personal blogs. Me, me, me. Vine is just another me-app, a glowing red herring to prevent some of us from achieving anything while the world burns.
Mankind stands vis-à-vis with global crisis. Mali is at war. Syria spews endless atrocity. Our grandchildren's generation will most likely be starved or bombed from the face of the earth. Just watch this. Hit this link and watch the video. Congratulations, Vine. I wish you every success.