Where Have All The Viners Gone?
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Despite its popularity, Twitter decided to kill the Vine video platform. At its peak, Vine had hundreds of millions of active users and countless content producers. Like Twitter, Vine focused on keeping its message short. People had only six seconds to tell their story. Despite the short length of the videos, or perhaps because of it, viewers loved the content. When you only get a few seconds, you need to make sure every second really counts.
Yet in spite of Vine’s success, Twitter wound the platform down toward the end of 2016. Old content would be preserved, but new content was no longer allowed to be uploaded. In other words, Vine was converted into a de facto museum. Twitter had invested $30 million into Vine but decided that the project was a lost cause.
While Vine’s run was short-lived, it was also fruitful. Vine paved the way for many of the world’s most influential social media influencers, such as Logan Paul, Curtis Lepore, Amanda Cerny and King Bach. Yet in spite of all that momentum, Twitter decided to do away with the platform overnight, shocking much of Vine’s audience.
A raft of Vine refugees.
Of course, content producers would continue to produce content, but they needed a new platform. Vine’s closure created a huge number of Vine “refugees,” content creators without a home. Many of these creators had built large audiences and followings. A fair number had commercialized their own personal brand.
Suddenly, all of that was gone. Yes, Twitter enabled Vine-like features for its own platform. But Twitter is already crowded, and it’s a less than ideal platform for video content and content creators.
So where did all the Viners go? Some gave up, of course. Others moved to different video platforms, such as Youtube, Facebook and Instagram. Indeed, many of the more proactive Viners had been branching out before Vine itself was shut down.
While Twitter’s official announcement seemed to emerge out of left field, the company’s apathy toward Vine was becoming obvious. Engagement numbers were declining, new feature rollouts and updates became less common and stagnation was in the air. In fact, you might recall that many of the top Viners banded together in an effort to force Vine to up its game. Twenty-one of the top Viners, including Jon Paul Piques and Marcus Johns, gave Vine an ultimatum “give us $25 million dollars and implement a list of changes or we walk.” Vine declined, and many of the stars did walk.
You can now find many of the biggest names on other social media platforms, however. Jon Paul Piques has over nine million Facebook followers and two million Instagram followers. Marcus Johns has nearly 1.4 million likes on Facebook and another million on Instagram. They are both still producing videos and content, as are many other former Viners.
By and large, the content is still good. Viners can still make us laugh, cry, giggle or, when they feel like it, they can tick us off as well. Yet Facebook and Instagram have always lacked the focus of Vine. For those of us who preferred Vine, it’s hard not to wonder whether the social media world would be better if the platform was still around.
Snakt? (Or where is Vine 2.0?)
Vine’s probably not coming back, as Twitter has shown little interest in reviving the platform. However, new entrants may be able to fill that empty spot in the social media sphere. Rumors from Reddit and other sources suggest that Snakt -- the video app from attorney Tristan Snell and startup phenoms Melinda Wang and Laura Scott-Bonnick -- has been inking deals with some of the biggest names, such as King Bach and Klarity.
Snakt appears to be moving into pole position as far as being the next Vine is concerned. Besides former Viners, Snakt has also attracted Flo Rida and other big names. Like Vine, Snakt focuses on short videos. Unlike Twitter, Snakt is committed to remaining content creator focused.
YouTube has also attracted some Viners, but Google’s platform has been demonetizing independant video content. Google’s message seems to be “Be really, really big, or go home.” That’s a bit of a problem for new content creators; how can you get big if you can’t get started? It’s like those job ads for entry-level jobs that require five years of experience. It simply doesn’t make sense.
Vine’s founder Dom Hoffman is also rumored to be working on a sort of Vine 2.0, but so far little has materialized. Vine-like platforms remain few and far between, with Snakt being the only one that stands out. Still, Vine’s success suggests that a Vine-like platform will emerge, perhaps Snakt, perhaps another brand. Right now, it’s a race to build momentum, but content platforms have some influential allies on their side: the content producers themselves. So long as content platforms cater to content producers, success will remain obtainable.