Throughout the lengthy process of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, he has proposed many changes and intended feature updates in the form of casual conversation on Twitter itself. From a tiered subscription model to enhanced features for all users, it’s hard to say what changes he seriously intends to implement, and which are throwaway comments meant to incense his detractors.
On October 31st, 2022, Elon Musk hinted at one exciting change in particular—that he may be looking into reviving Vine, the popular TikTok predecessor purchased by Twitter in 2012 before the service was shut down in 2016.
Do People Want a Vine Comeback?
Musk initially began floating the idea of a Vine comeback in the form of a Halloween Twitter poll. With 4,920,155 votes and nearly 70 percent voting Y (Yes,) the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Musk began responding positively to comments with further ideas for a reboot, most notably asking YouTube’s Mr. Beast how Twitter could improve on TikTok’s model to provide some healthy competition.
What Was Vine, and Why Did Twitter Shut It Down?
Vine was a short-form video social media app that first came on the scene in 2013, peaking in popularity at over 200 million active users by 2015. Though videos had to be six seconds or less, longer Vine compilation videos on YouTube became a cultural sensation. Many consider the app a proto-TikTok, with the later app (TikTok) expanding on Vine’s features, extending video length, and focusing more heavily on music and the use of shared sound.
Twitter purchased Vine before its official release in 2013, just three years before making the decision to unceremoniously shut down the app due to the lack of monetization options for the company and creators. In 2017, the Vine app was re-released as Vine Camera, allowing users to record videos that could only be posted to Twitter or saved on the creator’s device. The Vine community expressed its disappointment by flooding the app store with negative reviews.
Is Elon Musk Serious About Bringing Back Vine?
Musk has made fast work of going ahead with proposed changes following his Twitter takeover. From the promised layoff of the executive team to dedicating resources to implementing new features, it appears that when he is serious about an idea, it tends to come to fruition quickly.
With rumors that Musk is demanding a high standard of workplace efficiency at Twitter, it’s unlikely that recent staffing upheavals will slow down his vision for the company. Some sources, including Axios, are reporting that engineering teams at Twitter have been assigned to work on updating Vine’s code.
Musk appears to be carefully considering what form a new Vine could take, responding affirmatively to one commenter suggesting that a Vine reboot should come in the form of a Twitter feature update as opposed to a standalone app.
It’s possible that this feature could appear as a modified return of Fleets, the temporary status update feature removed from the app in 2021. It’s clear that the biggest challenge will be differentiating the new Vine from TikTok, while still retaining the original charm and dynamic creator culture that birthed the newer video app.
Musk’s Twitter Vision
With all the proposed changes Elon Musk has floated on the app, it’s difficult to say what he intends as a serious move and what are simply his visionary goals for the future. While his early indications that he intended to make the verification system a paid subscription service seemed unserious at first, he later confirmed that he would be going ahead with the plan to democratize thought on the platform while also generating additional income for the company.
For now, Vine fans must wait for clear confirmation that the service will be returning in some form. What remains clear is that major changes are coming to Twitter under its new CEO. With his stated dedication to free speech and diversity of thought, the biggest adjustments may be cultural.
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