For the first time, Twitter-owned Vine has expanded its Creator Spotlight series outside of the US, and the first creator to be highlight just happens to be one of Ireland’s biggest stars on the social media service, Senan Byrne.
The online world is now awash with different online-only celebrities who made their fame on sites like YouTube, Facebook and Vine, the latter of which Twitter purchased for close to $1bn back in 2013.
Just as much as YouTuber Zoella can find herself in the record books for the fastest-selling debut book of all time, Vine stars can find themselves on the end of lucrative contracts from sponsors more than happy to get their products in a medium that is attracting eyeballs.
For those of you who missed the whole ‘Vine-omenon’ (this is a word made up entirely by me), each Vine is designed to last six seconds, which will repeat on a loop, which couldn’t be more appropriate for a generation with a short attention span and a love of GIFs.
And now, an Irish Vine star has found himself the first person outside the US to get the Creator Spotlight pointed firmly at him.
With more than 38,000 followers on his @Senbobaggins Vine account, Kilkenny-native Senan Byrne has clocked up close to a staggering 53.5m loops of his clips, with one of the most recent being his Star Wars clip, which has racked up more than 200,000 likes from across the globe.
‘I thought I’d give it a lash for a while’
Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com, Byrne has described his selection as being “an honour” after getting an email from Twitter’s offices in New York.
Working as full-time as a nurse in Tipperary, Byrne only began using Vine a little over a year ago after curiosity got the better of him, and after a month of not doing anything with his account, he began to post regularly.
“I started to do small little skits with most of the ideas coming from everyday occurrences and you might write down a few ideas,” Byrne says before bringing out that Irish staple, self-deprecation.
“The first few I put up were terrible, not that my Vines are any good, and I thought I’d give it a lash for a while.”
But when asked how much time he invests into Vine these days, it’s a very different story: “Too much,” he says. “I get in trouble, especially with the girlfriend, as I’m on the phone the whole time. On a good week you might put up two vines, but sometimes there might be a spur-of-the-moment one and you’d post it there and then.”
He’s quick to point out, however, that while some of the largest American ‘Viners’ have already given up the day job to focus all their efforts on the social media platform, he has no intention of giving up his career as a nurse but adds that he loves the freedom Vine offers him to express his creativity.
The realities of life on the Vine
There are some downsides, however, with Byrne admitting quite openly that, like many other regular Viners out there, there’s always the fear that one of your posts just won’t strike a chord with your audience.
“Unfortunately, no matter how many followers you get, you hope to get so many likes or re-Vines or shares and comments, and sometimes Vines don’t perform as well as you’d like and it can be a bit of a bummer.”
And sometimes, there’s the issue of copying among the Vine community that, Byrne says, can’t really be policed or properly dealt with.
“It’s human nature to copy one another,” Byrne says. “All my content is original and I’m proud of that, no matter how good or bad they are, and sometimes people with more followers than the average Joe do take or borrow ideas and that’s an ongoing thing.
“You can’t stop it, sadly. I might take it as a compliment that someone has copied my idea, but then sometimes one of my videos is ripped entirely and re-posted as their own, unfortunately.”
Either way, Byrne now finds himself in the international spotlight among the Vine community, which is estimated to be around 200m active users worldwide; not bad for someone who does it entirely in his spare time.
Here are some of the Vines that Vine has picked out as Byrne’s highlights so far.
And finally, here is his recent Star Wars clip, which is pretty terrific.
Vine app image via Yeamake/Shutterstock