Vine, the video sharing social media outlet, officially ended its four year run earlier this week. Twitter owned Vine and announced the termination of the six-second video sharing service after it severely declined in popularity over the past year. After an outburst from the few loyal Vine users, Twitter assured them that their videos will still be accessible online, even post-shut down.
With the end of the short-lived Vine era, many are predicting Twitter itself is next. Just before the company declared the death of Vine, Twitter announced a plan to layoff nine percent of their current staff. According to NPR, the company is struggling to make a profit and has no choice but to make cuts.
“To be more efficient, the San Francisco-based company says it’ll cut around 9 percent of its global workforce, with the heaviest toll falling on sales and marketing units. Twitter had 3,910 employees at the end of the quarter, meaning around 352 jobs will be eliminated,” (Chappell “End of The Vine”).
Once those 352 jobs are eliminated, Twitter plans to focus on video content. “Users should expect to see more video ads, which the company says is its top revenue-generating format,” (Chappell “End of The Vine”). With an increased amount of video ads, the social media platform hopes to finally make a profit in the upcoming year. Nonetheless, Twitter has struggled to gain new users since the end of 2013.
The increasingly slow growth of the user base reflects the slow growth of the company as a whole. Twitter originally started out as a place to share thoughts, images, and videos — a “microblog” as they call it. It is the norm to post several times a day; even several times an hour. Despite the popularity of the concept after Twitter first launched, users became bored with the static growth of the company’s vision.
Thus, Twitter needs to reinvent itself. To gain users, and to keep active users, Twitter needs to make a shift from a social platform to a news platform. One of the many benefits of Twitter is its main feature that allows users to publish information quickly and concisely — in no more than 140 characters, to be exact. Because of this, many journalists, reporters, public figures, and even everyday users have the power to report breaking news within seconds.
For example, in June, the Twitter community gathered to discuss the Orlando Night Club Shooting that killed 49 people. Those in the nightclub Tweeted observations from inside; some tweeted that they found safety; others tweeted photos in search of missing friends. Reporters consistently posted updated information as they got it. After the devastation, Twitter complied a series of tweets to honor the victims.
More recently, Twitter has been a place for discussion about the presidential election. Users can follow election hashtags, debate with other users on policy, and even follow the presidential candidates themselves. With reporters constantly live-tweeting, users have had access to the latest information about the election in order to make an informed vote. The implementation and popularity of political news on the social media platform has made millennials — the primary users of Twitter — significantly more active in the presidential election process.
Therefore, over the past year, Twitter has been the leading platform for getting news out timely. Twitter has not been the leading platform for social purposes — and has not been for years — thanks to the more popular Facebook and Instagram. Thus, in order for Twitter to survive and rebound from its slow descent into nothingness, the company needs to reinvent the platform as an outlet to discuss and report news.