Twitter is preparing to shut down Vine, the company announced today.
The dissolution marks the ignoble end of a long, painful decline for Vine, which emerged as one of the most creative spaces on the internet following its debut in 2013. Vine's six-second looping format was embraced by a talented group of creators who regularly posted fun, original work on the app.
These creators developed a unique form of humor on the app, and compilations of their work on YouTube raked in millions and millions of views:
The creators' work turned Vine into a cultural force. It's credited with being the source for pop culture terms such as "on fleek" and "Netflix and chill."
Top Vine creator Cody Johns expressed gratitude for the service in a text message to BuzzFeed News. "I’m grateful for what the green app did for me and my brother," he said. "It was a simple, fun, creative platform where we won the hearts of millions of fans. Vine was a springboard for many careers, and it was similar to being on a hit television show for several years. As an entertainer, you realize the industry moves fast, and you have to move on and secure your next opportunity."
In a Medium post, the company provided little detail about what specifically led to the shutdown. "Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold," the company said. "Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app."
But a former Twitter executive pointed to declining usage sparking a cascade of problems. "It's been a rough year for Vine," the exec said. "Obviously usage hasn't been spectacular and so much of the team has jumped ship."
And Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov appeared to blame Twitter handling of Vine for its deminse:
Twitter today announced layoffs of around 350 people. Asked if Vine's entire operation of 50 or so people is included in that number, a Twitter representative declined to specify.
Twitter, according to reports, considered selling the app. But apparently no buyer materialized.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at email@example.com.
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