Byte: The New Vine


Enoch Orozco

TestFlight was the only way to access Byte during the closed beta phase from April 2019 to January 2020 (Photo courtesy of Enoch Orozco).

Vine was the defining social media outlet for the Millenial and Gen X generations from its start to the inevitable shut down in January 2017. Featuring seven-second videos uploaded by whoever desired, the app satisfied the extremely small attention span coined by these generations. During its Golden Age there was a complete renovation of humor that carries on to this day.

“Vines always made me laugh, even if I didn’t understand them,” said junior Natalie DeRosa. 

The app became a hive mind where every kid in your middle school or high school class was reciting these short videos word for word. Even if you hadn’t seen one or didn’t understand the joke, you would hop on the bandwagon and laugh along with everyone else. However, the app did not have a very long lifespan. Shutting down Vine left a large gap in social media for about 3 years until January of 2020, with the public announcement of a “new Vine”, simply titled Byte. Byte is essentially a copy of Vine, featuring almost identical features and the coined “seven-second videos.” 

Byte had been in production since early 2018. Like most things, the app needed to go through a closed beta testing phase where access is extremely limited in order to work through any bugs or security issues. I was lucky enough to be one of the few invited to the closed beta, which started in April 2019. I received my invitation through one of my friends, Carson Tate, who was more closely involved in the beta process. I was able to reach out to him to talk about the beta process and the app itself.

Tate explained the process of beta testing, and in simplified terms, there were a few waves where they gradually introduced more and more people and features. “After a month they did the second wave of people… I was one of those people and that’s when they introduced the camera roll feature,” says Tate. He continued to explain how the beta grew from 100 people in stage one to 4,000 in the final stages of the beta. “The beta was fun to test out because I already knew all the people on the beta from the forums and the discord so it was kinda like a huge group chat of just entertaining videos,” Tate added. In conclusion, the entire beta was a lot of fun and sparked an entire community surrounding the app.

However, the app is still very new and not many people know or care about it. The general consensus of those who have not given it a chance is that Vine had run its course and Byte couldn’t hold a candle to it. Either that or they have no clue Byte even exists.

“What is Byte? I’ve never even heard of that,” said junior Christian Malave. . 

It has only been a month since its release, but the following surrounding Byte has been slow, to say the least. There is the potential the criticizers are right, and Byte really stands no chance of holding up as a social media outlet. With the extreme popularity of other social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat, introducing something new is not an easy task. TikTok is already known for satisfying our generation’s short attention span, which makes introducing Byte an even more difficult task. 

However, Byte does have a shot. Many of the “influencers” of the Vine era have moved to explore the new outlet. The return of what were once called “Viners” could be the start of a social media resurgence for the now older generation of young adults. Along with these influencers, many figures from other platforms, such as YouTube, have extended their outreach to Byte. 

Considering everything, Byte has a very promising future assuming it receives the proper advertising a reception from the community. As of right now, searching Vine on the App Store has Byte as the top result. The seven-second video feature promises satisfaction of a short attention span, and the community has already done some very creative things with it. Hopefully, Byte will blow up and we will get a resurgence of the “Vine Days.”