Vine: already forgotten and soon to be an ex-social media platform

Vine Vine and goodbye to whatitsname.

It is difficult to place Vine, even as someone who follows social media. Is it like Periscope? No, that’s live streaming. Instant? No, that’s Facebook articles for mobile.  Still, it rings a distant bell. Is it something to do with Twitter?

Yes – and now Twitter is closing it down. Possibly it has something to do with the nine per cent cut to Twitter’s workforce. Sadly for them, the scissors will be in action during the run-up to Christmas.

Vine allows you to post six-second videos. Following the same rationale as Twitter itself, if you like. Two years ago, though, the Twitter-owned platform was the “big new thing”. Its short clips were seen as Twitter in visual form, building on the popularity of Instagram and Pinterest for image-led communications.

We wrote last year about how the platform was struggling. According to Adweek, GE – which is normally ahead of the curve – hadn’t published on Vine since January 2015.

Its problem? Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat have all created similar products. Vine also missed out on the shift towards content marketing.

Whereas Twitter was driven in the early days by celebrity engagement from the likes of Stephen Fry, Vine – in the UK at least – is probably best known for Dapper Laughs (comic Daniel O’Reilly). He was a kind of social commentator who became a star before falling from grace over his attitude to women.

Twitter has been having a hard time of things lately. It is unlikely to go anywhere soon. But there have been questions over whether its quickfire template, largely responsible for its success, also creates a problem for brands. Nowhere is the “here now, gone a moment later” meme of social greater than on a Twitter account following 1,200 people.

In terms of Vine, the fact that Snapchat, Facebook et al are running similar models shows the idea is sound. The problem lies in failing to push early-adopter usage. There is a basic algorithm for new social platforms (pardon me for the pseudocode):

if (new_platform == popular && new_platform < competition) {you_had_better_get_more_coverage_and_quick

In other words, if your product can be copied easily you had better make sure you get everybody using your version – and quick. The problem is that Facebook has the users and therefore the clout to outflank Twitter and Vine.

So why did Vine fall down? The fact that GE pulled out so early suggests it found users were disengaged. If so, other brands would have discovered the same. Like it or not, brand engagement is an essential part of the mix for consumers.

Twitter says Vine content will be kept online. For the sake of all those people who have spent time creating it, one hopes this will prove the case. But sooner or later the time will come when the repository needs an update, if only to keep in line with new web standards. That’s when the off switch will appeal.

Is our digital footprint indelible, or will it all go the way of Vine?

Vine: already forgotten and soon to be an ex-social media platform is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.

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