Will Vine Strangle Twitter?

By Mary C. Long 


Until recently, Vine has been the golden child of Twitter’s extended services. As we’ve seen Twitter’s #music consistently (and, we imagine, embarrassingly) sputter along, Vine’s growth has been pretty phenomenal.

But Vine may turn out to be the bane of Twitter’s existence – and not just because it’s currently getting an Instagram beat-down.

Vine experienced rapid growth straight out of the gate, topping the “free downloaded apps” charts since its release. And early adopters were thrilled with the possibilities the six-second looping app presented, with branded Vines being shared four times more often than other kinds of videos.

But then Twitter’s nemesis took aim and landed a solid blow, with the help of its sidekick (and Twitter’s former friend) – Instagram.

And Instagram’s new offering is giving Vine a solid thrashing. Users went wild uploading more than five million clips the first day it was released, while the number of Vine links dropped nearly 40 percent in one day, according to Topsy. Here’s why:

BUT, Vine does offer a unique – and pretty cool – looping effect that’s not available on Instagram (yet) and that could continue to be a draw. And there are those who will always want to be a part of something hip, of course, so it won’t completely die out. Probably. Twitter will likely release new features soon that will give it a boost, regardless.

The real issue though, is this: Vine will likely hang on as a video sharing platform, but at what cost to Twitter?

As it stands, if you survey teens using the service, many are surprised to learn that Vine is owned by Twitter (seriously, try asking some of them – I did). How many other people came to Vine after seeing one shared elsewhere online and have NO idea it’s part of Twitter? So there’s THAT group of people to consider. How does their Vine participation advance Twitter? It doesn’t.

And why should Twitter care? Sure, it’s easy enough to add some branding/awareness to Vine to make the Twitter/Vine connection, but the underlying problem remains: Vine traffic does not benefit Twitter (not in the way it should) as it lives outside of the platform.

As Vine traffic grows, assuming it will, unless it is somehow brought into the fold as one offering (as we see on Instagram), Vine will continue to tax Twitter resources while acting more as a competitor than an ally and will slowly strangle Twitter.

Or not. You tell us.

Mary C. Long is a promotional writer, a digital media strategist – and a ghost. Check out her Twitter @MaryCLong to learn more.