Vine, the video app that allowed users to create looping snippets of video, has been officially shut down by Twitter. The parent company was quick to explain that existing Vines, the six-second ‘gifs with sound’ that popularized the service, will remain available. Twitter apparently wishes to keep that piece of its history alive as a thank you note to its user base.
The video sharing app has always seemed like the perfect and most logical complement to Twitter. Initially, the idea about Vine was that people could easily and instantly share moments of their lives in an uncomplicated platform. Like many other things on the Internet, however, users chose to employ the service in an entirely different way. Even during its testing phases, Vine saw the creation of artistic and experimental videos that revolved around its six-second limit. Users quickly saw the many creative uses of the platform though the results were not always up to par.
Like the social network/sharing service, Vine’s limit was the core which drove the platform forward. Twitter has been one of the best services to share small bits of information, informative blurbs, jokes, and new forms of marketing. Vine also shared that intimate kind of interaction at a basic level but, unlike its parent company, it never really found a solid foundation. First and foremost on its list of issues was the fact that it had no clear direction. Many of the individuals who were initially involved with the project left for greener pastures and some of the service’s hires were questionable at best.
In addition to all that, Vine never found a way to diversify and monetize. Whereas services like Snapchat and Instagram developed new ways to engage with their audience, Vine largely remained the same in a sea of changes. Stagnation in the digital age leads to demise more often than not. The lack of unity and coherence was far too obvious to be ignored for much longer.
Of course, that’s not to say that Vine was without its moments. Like YouTube, Vine birthed several Internet celebrities, an array of memes, and some very creative, imaginative, and hilarious video loops. One thing that stands out, however, is that many of the most popular Vine stars foresaw the service’s ultimate death and shifted their focus elsewhere. As I mentioned before, many of them have already moved to competing platforms such as Snapchat.
Vine’s shutdown may not be all that surprising but it also merits discussions about Twitter. The network has long been plagued by similar issues such as a lack of direction. Facebook, for instance, is one of the very few social networks which has managed to create an impressive long-term plan and vined its way into so many different aspects of the digital everyday life. On the other hand, Twitter’s stagnation is a growing concern and most of its added features have done nothing but alienate its existing users. Of course, the social network remains intensely popular so its executives might be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat after all.