Twitter: demise of vine

Michael Hicks heard rumours through the grapevine

28th November 2016

Some of the biggest news in the tech industry at the moment is that Twitter has decided to pull the plug on their hugely popular video-sharing platform Vine, to the great surprise of many. For those unfamiliar with Vine, the platform allowed users to upload and share short, six-second long videos that would loop indefinitely. Vine was a massively popular network, with a reported 200 million monthly active users, and with Vine playing host to nearly 40 million videos. Vine was even where a load of famous faces (such as singer Shawn Mendes and make-up artist Jesse Smiles) got their start, and many have used Vine to carve out a good, sustainable career for themselves. So why, if all signs were looking so good, did Twitter decide to pull the plug? After all, they bought Vine for a reported $30 million back in 2012.

Well, Twitter hasn’t stated the exact reason that Vine will be closing its doors, just that they would not be removing the app from app stores (straight away anyway), taking down the website or any of the vines currently uploaded to their servers, just removing the functionality for new vines to be uploaded. Many assume that the closure of Vine is because Twitter is facing its own internal crisis right now. After a rumoured breakdown in the plans of a Twitter buyout by the likes of Google or Disney, coupled with a lack of any significant growth in the price of their stock (to the point where Twitter, despite its huge popularity, isn’t actually turning a profit), 350 workers found themselves laid off. Vine’s casualty appears to be part of the process to streamline the company, stripping away some of their non-core software in order to aid their ailing finances.

It also seems to be the case that Vine itself is losing steam. While I was writing this, my teenage sister asked me “why I was writing about Vine since no one cares anymore”. And that may be a key part of the puzzle. Despite Vine’s popularity, the service has failed to keep up and stay relevant in the wake of competitors Snapchat and Periscope (the latter of which is owned by Twitter themselves), and many of Vine’s biggest stars have since jumped ship to more popular websites, like Youtube, in search of greener pastures. Perhaps that was why Twitter decided to cut their losses and kill the service, rather than let it suffer a prolonged, expensive demise as its user base started to jump ship in ever-increasing numbers.

"As for the functionality of Vine itself, I find it hard to believe that Twitter will completely drop the idea of sharing short videos"

So, what does the future hold for Vine, and other video-sharing platforms like it? Well, it’s safe to say that Snapchat and Periscope aren’t going to be heading the way of Vine any time soon. As for the functionality of Vine itself, I find it hard to believe that Twitter will completely drop the idea of sharing short videos. Vine was already increasing being merged with Twitter (now requiring you to sign in with a Twitter account to like and share Vines), and it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw something similar to Vine be directly implemented into Twitter itself sooner rather than later.  Until then, I’m going to take a short, six-second trip down memory lane and watch that one with the lawnmower taking flight to cheesy 90s dance music, with a single tear in my eye.

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