Vine’s Constraint on Value Versus Creativity
Although brands were quick to grab headlines in the months following Vine’s launch, they won’t worry much about its demise. Very few committed to it because of its advertising limitations and those that did have stopped posting and migrated to other platforms. Lowes Home Improvement developed a wonderful concept in its #fixinsix series, but has since seen greater successes on Facebook. Samsung USA is another example – they had 156,000 followers but since last year have shifted efforts to Instagram.
Vine launched a slew of social video celebrities who could cash in on ‘internet money’ – Jerome Jarre and Kylie Jenner are two notable examples, both of whom have subsequently moved the majority of their followers to other social channels such as Snapchat. And it is Snapchat (over 150 million daily users) and even more so, Instagram (over 500 million daily users), that contributed towards the fall of Vine. Both channels quickly ate into the short video appetite Vine helped create and stole audience share and influencer cache. In the years after Vine’s launch, this was symptomatic of brands becoming more interested in influencers creating content for them.
Since Vine’s launch, the big platforms have mobilised to become increasingly similar. It is these channels that are competing in an arms race, with the destination looking a lot like homogenisation. Remember when Instagram was only about the square? And when Snapchat was ephemeral? Now we have Instagram Stories, Snapchat Memories, Twitter Moments. And of course, everyone is having a stab at ‘live’: Twitter Periscope, Facebook Live, and Instagram and Snapchat’s live products are just around the corner. Even the Vine founders are launching Hype, an interactive live-streaming platform.
So while Vine paved the way for short, entertaining videos, the need for the platform itself diminished. The niche role it had was hoovered up by the apps that already had a huge user base and an established advertising platform to help them develop.
So Vine’s impact on business was limited, but what about culture?
The constraint demanded by the app created a whole new genre, by imploring its millions of users to play with video imaginatively. Vine showed us that a six-second loop was enough to capture someone’s attention through a moment of reduction.
Although Twitter has moved on from Vine, it still demonstrates its cultural value in ‘the short’. The growing trend of micropoetry (also known clumsily as Twihaiku) last year for example, the constraints of which, according to director of the Poetry Society, Judith Palmer, breed philosophical musing and ‘Imagist’-style observation.
Looking to the near future, it already looks like 2016 is going to be Snapchat’s year, but we will have to wait to see whether its rapid growth in popularity will lead to the familiar path of diluting the USPs that made it so popular. And with recent tech developments across all major social networks, it seems we’ll be seeing 2017 as the “Year of Live” – which presents us with our next creative constraint.