Vine, the mobile application which allows users to create and share six-second long videos, is facing the end of its six seconds of fame. Twitter’s announcement Thursday stating that it would be “discontinuing the mobile app” came at the dismay of the app’s reportedly 200 million monthly users. With many creators feeling betrayed, Twitter must face the backlash of its decision in the form of outrage and questions.
The short answer: Why did Twitter suddenly decide to discontinue the application?
Well, Twitter is struggling to make a profit. With its stock price at an all-time low, the company let go of 9% of its employees. This meant letting go of Vine’s staff, a move which led to the closure of the app.
The long answer: Why did Twitter deem Vine unimportant?
First, the reality of Vine is that it’s simply not profitable. Twitter first acquired Vine for $30 million in October 2012, right before the app’s launch. At the time, the purchase presented itself as a worthwhile investment. However, as the company soon found out, the length of the content on Vine prevented it from being an effective platform for advertisers. This stopped the app from being truly profitable like it was envisioned. Furthermore, the mobile application has been quickly declining in popularity for years. As many of its most popular creators migrated to other, more profitable and engaging social media platforms, so did Vine’s users. Specifically, many former Vine stars found an audience and a creative platform in YouTube. In June 2016, Vine attempted to compete with other platforms and restore popularity to its service with a feature that allowed users to create 140 second videos, but it did not catch on. By this time, the app’s once active user base had already moved on. As Vine is now no longer profitable or popular, Twitter realized the mobile app was not benefiting its company and ultimately decided to discontinue it.
So, what’s next?
For now, Vine remains online and offers users the opportunity to download their Vines. It remains to be seen what effects the unprecedented closing of a major social media platform will bring. Regardless, Vine established a legacy with the creativity prompted by the unusual six-second content restriction.