Twitter has been in the news a lot lately for making some rather discouraging announcements. Just last week it was reported that the social media platform would be letting go of over 300 employees—and now we know why. They’re shutting Vine down.
In a statement released on Medium@vine/important-news-about-vine-909c5f4ae7a7#.fwsnojrpl, Twitter announced that it’s discontinuing the app that gave you six-seconds of Internet fame. If you listen closely, you can hear a never-ending loop of teenagers crying endlessly.
Unfortunately, it’s not that surprising of news to the rest of the world since Twitter hasn’t been doing very well financially. It’s sad news to hear though because Vine was the only social channel that really ever stayed true to itself. Plus, it helped us procrastinate and discover some really, truly hilarious videos where people spent more time being silly and less time taking them too seriously.
More importantly, does this mean Vine stars will have to start making ten second videos on Snapchat or Instagram stories now? Or do they have to find a new career?
Whatever happens, Vine stars will surely take their social media fame to another platform and teenagers will move on to the next big thing. But while we’re in this time of mourning, let’s get some closure and talk about the real, likely reasons that caused Vine to shut down.
Okay, they’re not bankrupt, but Twitter has been struggling to be profitable. Moreover, the company has also been struggling to find someone to buy them and has yet to shake hands with a suitor. Their stock currently sits at $17, an all-time low for the social network that was once worth $31 billion when they first went public.
Moreover, Twitter recently announced that they were letting go of 350 employees—or 9% of their company—and you don’t make that kind of lay off unless you really, really need to. By the sounds and looks of it, Vine was cut because the company just couldn’t make money off it and didn’t have the finances to keep their staff around.
In 2013, Instagram launched videos and Vine never recovered from it. The Instagram feature allows users to create 15-second videos, a pretty big difference compared to the six-seconds you got on Vine. As it turned out, average users and Vine stars alike wanted more time for their videos, so they say goodbye to Vine and started posting their videos on Instagram.
Instagram made Vine obsolete when users realized they could have everything they wanted in one place, on Instagram. Could this be foreshadowing an inevitable demise of Snapchat?
Vine stars were a huge part of what made Vine so successful. People loved the nonsensical art that Vine stars created and they just kept watching those loops. It was so easy to find funny videos to share with friends, and as you got stuck watching video after video, you started to become obsessed with certain accounts.
I think Vine made it pretty easy to become a Vine star, but the sad reality is that once those Vine stars gained a following, they no longer needed Vine. Some remained loyal, but others knew Vine wasn’t realistic if they truly wanted to be Internet celebrities.
It seems most Vine stars decided to jump ship and create on a more profitable platform. Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are easy platforms to recreate the same kind of content on, and YouTube is really where all video stars go to flourish. Compared to Vine, every other social network is on a larger scale, which gives social media stars a larger audience, hence, they’re able to make more money. And without their Vine stars, Vine had no one brining in traffic or drawing advertisers in.
Considering the videos are so short and snappy, there was never any real viability for advertisers to use Vine. While that was great for users, it was not so great for the company trying to capitalize on the popularity of the app. Marketers and advertisers ultimately gave up on Vine since it wasn’t a sustainable advertising model, and instead, they went to Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
To put it simply: Vine just didn’t make Twitter any money.
Beyond teenagers, Vine just wasn’t that popular. It was when it first showed up, and back in 2013 it was consistently at the top of the charts in the iOS store. It previously ranked in the top five for entertainment apps, as well as in the top 50 for best overall apps. Now, it’s somewhere in the 200’s for all-time favorite apps, and barely makes it into the top 20 for photo and video apps.
People loved how short and hilarious the videos were, but just as the videos only lasted for six seconds, so did their fame. Though Twitter is keeping its live video app, Periscope, alive (for now) the company just couldn’t compete with the likes of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook Live.
The good news is, Vine won’t be deleting videos any time soon and you can download them if you want to keep your vines forever. So at least for now, we can still watch our favorite Vines over and over and over again.