The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 23, 2014

Getting twisted up in six-second Vines

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

SELINSGROVE — SELINSGROVE — Five months ago, Mike Bennett was clueless about Vine. Today, his daily postings of six-second videos on Twitter have attracted more than 35,000 followers.

The 25-year-old Selinsgrove High School graduate is a full-time server at a Selinsgrove restaurant who aspires to be a children’s book illustrator.

Vine, a mobile app created by Twitter for users to create and post short video clips, has given Bennett a new audience to share his work and hopefully a chance to reach his career goal.

He started making the six-second clips and posting them at vine.co/mikebennett in September and quickly made a splash in Twitter-sphere with his family-friendly videos featuring his unique cartoon characters.

Within a few short months, Bennett’s work has him ranked 2,207 out of 40 million users on Vine according to rankzoo.com based on the number of followers who regularly check out his work.

“I was so happy when I hit 50 (followers) that I made a celebration Vine,” he said. “My typical self-esteem levels don’t allow for this kind of success.”

The number of followers spiked dramatically when BatDad, the viral sensation who’s videos are so popular he’s been featured on national morning television, retweeted Bennett’s videos from Vine on three separate occasions.

While the videos are fun to watch, it’s serious work for Bennett who spends “hours every day” coming up with new ideas primarily based on older cartoons he enjoyed as a child.

He and a group of artists are also teaming up to motivate children to create their own artwork through a new channel on Vine called wedraw.

Each Sunday on the channel at vine.co/redraw, the group posts a new hashtag encouraging followers to submit their own drawings and all the submissions are posted online later in the week. Currently, the group has nearly 10,000 followers.

“We live in a YouTube world that allows you to click through to what you like. If you don’t like something, keep going. It’s a negative, in a way,” he said. On the other hand, the brevity of the clips keeps Bennett focused.

“I was always the kind of person who would start something and not finish it,” he said.

Bennett is proud to be part of a large art community on Vine that is supportive and encouraging. His next challenge is to  establish a YouTube channel where longer videos can be shared.

“I’d like to tell a full story,” he said. “I have a few stories to tell.”

“I was always the kind of person who would start something and not finish it.