The Latest Victim of Social Media Darwinism

When it comes to the topic of social media, I’ve made it public that I really don’t understand the long term appeal of platforms like Twitter.  To me, Twitter quickly became an infinite loop of un-original material circulated by a healthy mix of my friends and celebrities.  Yet, I quickly found myself refreshing the site often only to find the same post retweeted.

Twitter’s lack of original content had pushed me away more than once but with the idea of Vine, a short story video sharing application, I was quickly intrigued.  I personally love video.  I think it’s an incredible way to share, thoughts, feelings, ideas, jokes, news, anything really.  Hence why Vine blew up in 2012 with millions of actively monthly users.
People were trilled to be sharing 6 seconds of their lives instantly with their followers.  Hell even Ohio University Student, Logan Paul, made hundreds of thousands of dollars through his comedic Vine posts, according to Business Insider.
But here we are just a short 5 years later and Vine has suffered a similar demise to those like Myspace, Google+ and iTunes Ping.  (Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of that last one.  You didn’t miss anything)

Social media platforms fail for hundreds of different reasons.  But with the instant success and 200 million active monthly users in 2016 why did Vine fail?  To me the answer is pretty simple.  Vine never adapted the ways that platforms such as Instagram (thanks partially to be purchased by Facebook) and Snapchat did.  Vine remained stale as it’s popularity grew and if Apple’s iPhone has taught us anything it’s that people want the newest and latest new features right away.


Photo Credit

According to a DMNews Article “5 Reasons why Vine Failed”, they credit much of the video streaming takeover of Vine to Instagram.  It’s easy to say that the 1 Billion dollar acquisition of Instagram by Facebook in 2012 helped put Instagram on an instant road to success.  Facebook has arguably learned more about the growth and long term success of social media than anyone else out there. But here we are in 2017, the official death year of the traditional Vine platform and I see a different competitor that I believe is making many of the steps that could have kept Vine alive.  Snapchat.

Now although I believe Snapchat has the words QA testing of any mainstream application I’ve ever used, their popularity is undeniable.  For those who weren’t early adopters Snapchat was a way to send a photo for desired time limit 1-10 seconds to whomever you wanted to.  The person on the receiving end only had that limited time slot to view what the sender sent them.  Creepy, was my initial reaction to the app but they adapted.  Much like News Feed did for Facebook, Snapchat created “Stories” a way to 1-10 second photo or video clips posted up on your account for 24 hours.

It was a this point Snapchat was starting to feel very similar to Vine but unlike Vine, Snapchat was starting to deliver their users new and exciting ways to enhance their content with filters, geotags, and even third-party application support form apps like Bitmoji. (I’ll save that for another blog)

The timely rollout of Snapchat’s latest features has kept the app fresh and relevant.  Tasks proven too difficult for competitors such as Vine.
The message here is simple.  Vine took it’s instant success and refused to give it’s users what they wanted.  More.  More features, more content, more globally availability. All these ignored requests leading to their demise.

Twitter, Vine’s parent company, has since rebranded Vine into “Vine Camera” an app for “making 6 second looping videos”.  Now last time I checked any modern smart phone can take video longer than 6 seconds.  Instagram allows you to post videos up to 60 seconds that will automatically loop, so what’s the value in Vine Camera?  I guess only time will tell  but with a plethora of camera apps available across multiple app stores it’s hard to see how their signature feature is going to gain any popularity.  Perhaps this time they’ll listen to their users about what they want.

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One Response to The Latest Victim of Social Media Darwinism

  1. sydhavely says:

    Great job, Jared. Your aptly titled post nailed the shortcomings of Twitter and Vine while showing how Snapchat has evolved (under the umbrella of FB) into what users seems to want and use. Darwinian is absolutely the right term for what’s happening in social media and business disruption right now with digital gobbling up middlemen like sharks in a creel swarm.

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