Twitter announced this week that it would be ending its Vine mobile app, the looping video service that it bought in 2012. Started by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll in June of that year, Twitter bought it for a reported $30 million only a few months later, and the service officially launched in January 2013.
The video app specialised in capturing six seconds of looping video and over the years it has been used in some ingenious ways. In the coming months though, Twitter said it plans to discontinue the app.
On Thursday Twitter said it would be cutting about 9 per cent of Twitter’s global workforce to reduce costs – about 350 people are losing their jobs worldwide. Although it hasn’t really given much insight into why it has decided Vine is for the chop, Twitter has been concentrating more on the live video side of things lately. For that, it has Periscope, which means Vine really isn’t necessary any more. All its cofounders have left Twitter since the acquisition too.
Oh. How has the news gone down then?
Not well. At the last count, Vine had around 200 million active users. That figure may have declined since last December, and indeed there were signs that the audience for Vine was starting to shrink. That could be down to the fierce competition out there, with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat also offering video services. Some users have already jumped ship to rival platforms.
But there are obviously quite a few Viners still out there. And those users are loyal. Within hours of the decision being announced, #RIPVine was trending on Twitter as those who were less than impressed with the decision posted their favourite Vines, some in reaction to the news, some as a eulogy to good times past.
So what happens to all my Vines now?
Don’t panic. You have time to download them and save them somewhere for posterity if you so wish. And the Vine website itself isn’t going anywhere for now. It will stay online so you can watch all the old clips that were uploaded. You just won’t be able to add any new clips.
Twitter said it will keep users updated and won’t make any changes without informing users first. So you won’t open the Vine site one day to find you can no longer access your account.
What are the alternatives?
There are plenty, although most work slightly differently to Vine. Instagram allows you to upload video clips up to 60 seconds in length to its app, and you can create loops with Boomerang. Snapchat also lets you share videos, slowing them down, speeding them up or reversing them. As we mentioned, Twitter also owns Periscope, which allows you to stream live video from your phone to a global audience. And there's always good old YouTube, where you can upload all your old Vines and let them live on after Twitter permanently pulls the plug. So just because Vine is done, it doesn't mean your creation of video content is.