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Commentary from former Vine executives on Elon Musk’s proposal to revive the app

Former workers claim a revival would have a difficult time competing with TikTok, which now rules the short-form video market.
On October 30, Elon Musk, who had just been named “Chief Twit,” published a Twitter poll asking the straightforward question, “Bring back Vine?” After almost five million votes, the survey came to a resounding “Yes,” with 69% of the nearly five million participants supporting bringing back the short-form video service.

Would a Vine relaunch be successful in the present, though? In January 2017, the platform, which was renowned for its six-second looping style, was shut down. Numerous attempts have been made since then to resurrect the service, including Vine 2, which is now available as the app Huddles. Musk’s Twitter poll results, though, show that there is still fondness for the first Vine.

Those outcomes, according to Karyn Spencer, a former head of creator development at Vine, were a heated topic in a group chat with former Vine staffers. The survey, according to Spencer, is an example of a pattern she’s noticed since Vine stopped working: People like to remember Vine more than they like the program itself.

If every person who voted “Yes” regularly used Vine, Spencer claims, “we wouldn’t have had to shut down.” “For years, we have observed that celebrities will tweet, ‘I miss Vine!’ and the tweet will become viral. More people are nostalgic for Vine than the app itself did in the end.

Rich Arnold, the former head of design for Vine and, according to him, the last person to ever publish a video to the app, describes Musk’s plan to revive Vine as “as clever as any other notion he’s come up with for Twitter so far.” He claims, “I got them to turn off posting rights for everyone and simply keep it open for my user ID for 30 minutes.”

Arnold acknowledges that Vine’s main selling feature is its nostalgic appeal and that it did fill a void in the market for “bizarre material.” (See the video, “Come get y’all juice.”) That said, if that stuff could exist right now, he continues, “it would be on TikTok.”

The following is the main challenge to a Vine reboot’s success: Short-form video has been fully controlled by TikTok.

Jared Kleinstein, former head of sports and global content strategy for Vine and Twitter and the creator of creator analytics and portfolio platform Gondola, says, “We walked so TikTok could run.” Any product that is brought back would need to be superior to or an improvement on what TikTok now offers to the world.

That’s no simple undertaking, especially given that Vine wasn’t even close to being flawless when it ended. According to Kleinstein, some of the issues Musk would have to address with the app include monetization, music licensing, customer privacy, Twitter integration, and an out-of-date codebase. He would essentially be “starting from scratch,” according to Kleinstein, and it would require a significant overhaul to actually compete with TikTok.

Spencer refers to ByteDance’s purchase of the well-known lip-syncing app in 2018 and says, “They were really intentional about taking notes and understanding what previous competitors did wrong and did right when they converted Musical.ly over to TikTok.” “The introduction of something new would require the same amount of planning, strategy, and really strategic insight.”

So, can Musk handle the job? Depending on whom you ask, the answer is either no or very certainly not, but these former Vine employees say it depends.

According to Spencer, neither he nor those around him have shown any level of competence in this situation. To pull something like that off, “He would really have to hire a team of brilliant people.”

About Jacob Chambers

As long-time IT enthusiasts, gamers and gadget fanatics, Mark and I have been working in the industry for a long time and we both have a vast experience in dealing with smartphones, tablets, PC and console hardware and everything tech-related. My list of industry insiders is long-enough to allow me to get insights into what's going on in the technology field and provide my readers with interesting and timely updates. I focus on brief, to-the-point reporting, keeping the "bla bla" to a minimum and making sure my readers get easy access to important information and updates. I mainly specialize in Android-based mobile devices, leaving iOS and Apple devices in Mark's capable hands.

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