Vine (not to be confused with BrainVine!) was a short-lived short-form video hosting platform. It spent a few brief years in the spotlight, generating more memes than any other social media platform. Its 6-second-long looped clips were meant by the platform’s creators to allow users to share moments of their lives with others. It was this format that actually ended up making it one of the more creative platforms on the Internet.
Vine was purchased by Twitter, which is also known for its short content, even before it launched. Twitter paid $30 million for the platform, thinking that the short videos were a perfect match for its short tweets. Everything seemed to be going so well, but then only four years after launch, Vine was closed.
A Creative Culture
Vine’s creators had originally envisioned the platform as a place for people to share everyday videos of their lives with others. Instead, the 6-second limitation on the videos and the fact that they looped continuously inspired a lot of creativity from users. Instead of posting everyday content, users instead pushed each other to experiment with new levels of creativity. This was a huge shift from what the creators had expected.
Vine spawned more memes and creative content than platforms with far more users. It had a huge impact on Internet culture that far outstripped its actual size and userbase.
Failing to Keep Pace
For a time, Vine overtook other video sharing platforms, but this didn’t last. The company had difficulty growing its user base or even making money. Other platforms were able to add new features and adapt to users’ wants and needs while Vine struggled to do that.
Vine saw major competition in Instagram, which began as a photo-sharing app but added short-form videos in 2013. Other competition came from Snapchat, which took over the niche originally targeted by Vine’s creators: the casual everyday life videos.
Many saw this as the beginning of the end for Vine, which didn’t have enough to differentiate it and keep users interested.
Vine was not only losing users but also losing money. This wasn’t helped by the high frequency of turnover at the executive levels of the company. The company leaders never stayed for long, leaving to pursue other creative projects instead. Another sign for many that it was the beginning of the end for Vine was when a manager with no experience running a business took over Vine in 2016.
Twitter’s Shutdown of Vine
Finally, in 2016, Twitter decided that Vine was no longer had strategic benefit for the company and decided to shut it down. The shutdown was gradual and began first with disabling the ability to upload new videos. Eventually, the app itself was closed. All Vine videos that were made are still available online, however.
The Future of Vine?
Dom Hofmann, one of the original founders of Vine, announced that a new platform intended to be a new and improved Vine, called Byte, was in the works. As of 2019, Byte is currently in beta. But with other video apps like TikTok currently used by millions of people worldwide, it remains to be seen whether or not Byte will be able to compete effectively or whether it will face the same problems the original Vine did.