Doing It for the Vine: A Critical Analysis of the Video Sharing Service’s Political Economy and Public Sphere Ideology

  • Caitlyn A. Gowriluk


This paper uses Jürgen Habermas’ concept of the public sphere to critically analyze the political economy and public sphere ideology of Vine, a now-defunct video-sharing service and social media platform. Because Vine was so intensely popular for several years, its sudden demise came as a surprise to many of its users. However, it is precisely this contradiction that highlights the flaws in Web 2.0 ideologies of social media as public sphere. While the site provided a medium for communication, Vine was ultimately a project driven by profitability and business interests, and not by any interest in creating a democratic space for users to communicate within. This paper examines the exploitation of prosumer labour, the theorization of value and unwaged user labour, and the immanent power dynamics of the digital archive to expose some of the flaws in the conceptualization of Vine as a new manifestation of the public sphere.