Twitter announced yesterday afternoon via a post on Medium that it would shut down Vine, the six-second video-sharing app, “in the coming months.”
I’ve written earlier on the reasons for Vine’s decline this year, but news that one of the top social networks was discontinuing altogether still comes as a shock.
Twitter has said it would not delete any of the Vines, but would keep them online for posterity.
While Twitter itself has struggled to maintain any type of growth, and had already announced it would lay off nine percent of its staff (some 350 employees) earlier yesterday, Vine’s troubles were separate.
Reasons for Vine’s decline this year included:
- Increased competition from Instagram and Facebook;
- Harassment of creators (which is more difficult on Facebook due to its “real name” policy);
- Better revenue opportunities from Facebook; and
- Key executives leaving.
I applaud Twitter’s management for taking bold steps in discontinuing an under-performing platform – and one that was not core to its business.
That said, I can’t help but agree with John Kelly, who posted this comment to the announcement on Medium:
“Twitter’s lack of marketability is rooted its unwillingness to effectively police trolling and abuse. Killing Vine — one of the least troll-infested corners of the Twittersphere — may look good on the financials but doesn’t help the brand.”
More wisdom, from a comment by Jonathan Annett:
“Translation: storing video and streaming video costs money. We don’t charge for either, and ad sales are not enough. Somethings gotta give.”
And Stephen Taylor:
“Twitter is preparing for sale. Six second videos are hard to put pre-roll ads on.”
Finally, there was this Tweet from Vine founder Rus Yusupov, who clearly regrets his decision to sell Vine to Twitter back in 2012:
Don’t sell your company!
— Rus (@rus) October 27, 2016
I’ve never used the app, let alone made a Vine video. But I spent time with pre-teens who adored it.
I appreciate Vine for taking an innovative approach to video – essentially creating the video analogue to Twitter’s micro-blogging platform.
It was a platform that encouraged zany creativity, spontaneity and humor – all of which the world needs more of.
But I never “got” it as a necessary social channel alongside the likes of Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn – much less for corporate marketing.
That’s okay. I’m in my late 30s, firmly entrenched in Generation X. Vine wasn’t for me, but for the generation below me.
Still, it stings to see any major social platform close down.
Just as MySpace deserved its time in the limelight, so too did Vine (ahh…the innocent halcyon days of 2013-14).
But the biggest takeaway here is perhaps the simplest:
Never go “all in” on a single social media platform.
While early adopters may indeed find fame and riches – launching careers through an outsized early audience, diversification is key to survival.
And owning your own platform (and the content you distribute through it) trumps all.