Vine isn’t really the first social media platform to go down the tubes — I think the mind wipe of MySpace counts — but it is the first to go down after establishing such a unique and bizarre creative space.
Yesterday, Twitter announced (on MEDIUM, of all places) that they were ending Vine, although all current content would somehow be given back to its rightful owners. As a platform for 6 second video clips, Vine has been increasingly eclipsed by Instagram, Snapchat and FB Live, all of which are more flexible. And Twitter has decided that – since no one will buy them because they’ve failed to shut down their toxic trolling–they’re going to have to go it alone to become profitable. About 350 Twitter employees – 9% of the workforce – are also being laid off. A superfluous business channel like Vine was just am impediment to being profitable.
Which is a shame. While the kiddie stars who found fame on Vine could be annoying AF, it was also the closest replication of what media was like BEFORE THE INTERNET, when people shared mixtapes and video compilations or watched cable access TV. It was an uncontrollable flow of weirdness and caught moments, as fleeting as our attention spans. For proof, you need go no further than their Halloween channel. Randomness is the message.
Pundits were mixed on the demise of Vine. Mean Evan Dashevsky sand good riddance:
I remember when Vine first popped up as the it app of 2012. You could say that it was the Ello, or perhaps Peach of the day. But while those apps have faded from view, Vine remained around long past its expiration date, thanks in large part to its $30 million acquisition by Twitter. As an intrepid young tech blogger at the time, I was obligated to explore the hot new thing. And so, dabble I did into the world of arbitrarily truncated videos. And it was super dumb.
Nicole Lee has a more sympathetic view:
Meanwhile, Vine was fading. As mentioned earlier, it was losing valuable market share to Instagram and Snapchat. Not only do they both allow for longer clips (Instagram allows up to 60 seconds while Snapchat’s restriction is 10) but there’s also a lot less pressure to be funny or original. Vine was a fun place to be creative and quirky, sure, but most people just want to take goofy videos of their cat. Furthermore, the stars that did emerge on Vine quickly discovered that there weren’t a lot of monetization opportunities there and eventually fled to other platforms.
Someday, we’ll be writing out Teens nostalga pieces and “Where is Nash Grier now?” will be a frequent topic.
Finally, I’d like to shout out the one and only Stacey Nightmare, who made a shocking announcement in her most recent Vine.
If 31 days of Halloween is about weird, spooky shit, Vine is what it’s all about.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.