Do it for the Vine!
‘Do it for the vine’ was the unofficial slogan for the short-form video-creating app, which was killed off earlier this year. At its height, Vine videos appealed to a huge audience of viral video lovers. Its 6-second time constraint was a creative challenge that many of its core fans relished. Many of the best vines were easily shareable on social media, and provided a laugh a second – great for those with low attention spans.
But the rise of other video platforms, especially Instagram, brought about a decline in the popularity of the app, and Twitter’s decision to kill the platform it had acquired as recently as 2012 prompted an outpouring of emotion from Vine’s most avid users. It is fair to say that Vine become something of a cult favorite among social media users.
But how did this app experience such a dramatic decline? And might the same thing happen to Twitter? Here are two of the main reasons why Vine – just like its videos – may have been lacking in longevity.
Vine videos lacked variety
True, we all love to get our viral video fix. Whether it’s hilarious fail compilations or quick fire pranks, Vine excelled in providing its users with a quick shot of viral content. But the problem lay in enticing a wider variety of posts onto its platform.
While other video sharing websites regularly contribute to the domain of breaking news and topical content, Vine videos were always a world apart. But while Vine attracted its enthusiastic following, it did little in contributing to any cultural conversation.
Vine videos repel advertisers
While short form content may appeal to those who like to cut to the chase, it can be very difficult for a brand to adequately sell their product/service with a 6 second video. It is also pretty impossible to copy Youtube’s model of ads playing before and during clips, given the time constraints.
It was already clear that Vine was a platform appealing primarily to a social, rather than a commercial, audience. As Vine attempted to scale up its business, it faced the inevitable problem of trying to coax big businesses onto its platform. Unfortunately for them, it failed.
Could Twitter follow suit?
Questions have been raised recently over the level of curation and censorship imposed by Twitter. What was once an online utopia of free comment has recently been perceived as a strictly policed portal, as a few high profile Twitter bans have proved. Add to this the struggles of introducing an effective ad model onto a platform that prides itself on its minimalism, and you have the recipe for another slow decline.
If Twitter still wants to compete as a social media powerhouse, it is essential that it recognizes its initial unique selling point as an arena for public debate. If it only works on fostering a cult following, as did Vine, then we may not be tweeting for much longer…