The new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, signaled about potential interest in revival Lazasocial video application Twitter gave up six years ago.
Over the past few hours, the self-proclaimed “Junk in Chief”) has tweeted a yes/no poll of his 112.4 million followers — meaningfully asking, “Bring back the Vine?”.
Question — whether a serious product idea or another flight of Elon’s imagination/roller coaster tweet — quickly garnered millions of votes (mostly yes) and thousands of retweets. This participation in turn collected a little additional attention from Musk who answered some questions/suggestions from his subscribers on the subject of social video.
In response to YouTuber Mr Beast’s tweet that jokingly referenced TikTok, Musk asked seriously, “What can we do to make it better than TikTok?”
He also took the time to publicly agree with another Twitter user — who opined that “video shouldn’t be a separate app” but should be “inside Twitter.” This observation brought the account of “Tesla owners of Silicon Valley”. Musk’s 100 emoji answerto signal (apparently) full approval of the idea that any Vine/video revival should be a feature on Twitter, not a standalone product.
So make of that what you will.
Poll on Vine’s resurgence (plus Musk’s wider involvement in the chatter it’s sparked) could mean his focus on the video theme is at least genuine — though it’s anyone’s guess whether Vine’s reboot is actually being considered seriously, or what it will mean beyond reviving the brand if his plan includes a basic feature set makeover. (Twitter’s press team did not respond to requests for comment.)
It’s equally plausible that Musk is doing the same thing as throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing which/when the pieces stick. Or he just misses Sundays and thinks he’ll bring another shower, out of the mind of his fans. And/or imagined indulging in a place to outsource brainstorming on a “lazy network”.
As with Elon, the usual caveats apply.
Still, Vine’s demise was a pretty devastating chapter in Twitter’s history — so a reboot could give Musk a chance to rewrite that particular piece of the script and earn him hero status among former Vine fans.
At the time of writing, more than 2.8 million votes had been cast in Musk’s poll on Vine’s return, with a large majority (69.4%) voting for a return — even though the poll was 14 hours away.
Twitter acquired the short video platform Twitter back in 2013. But in typical Clown Car fashion, the company ended up squandering an opportunity to build the new social video platform into a TikTok-style juggernaut after then-CEO Jack Dorsey decided drop out of the program after a few years.
Vine formwork brought Twitter the baldest of subtweets from Vine founder Russ Yusupov, who at the time bluntly warned other entrepreneurs: “Don’t sell your company!”
Ironically (given that *Twitter* has now been sold), Yusupov joined the Musk-initiated chatter surrounding Vine’s resurgence — offering the (frivolous?) suggestion that Vine should have “69-second videos.”
While Vine launched hyper-short videos (up to 6 seconds), the maximum upload length was later increased to 140 seconds — and video social mobile TikTok went much further and even started allowing its users to upload videos up to 10 minutes long earlier this year — so the 69-second videos are probably just an attempt to get Musk’s attention (with a childish joke) rather than a serious product offering.
Despite this, the interaction shows that Yusupov follows what is happening on Twitter with interest.
And that’s relevant, because this isn’t his first foray into tweeting at Musk about Vine, either: his public record is still topped by an earlier tweet — dated April 25 — when he posted a photo of himself with the (then) future owner of Twitter asking Musk ( rhetorical?) question: “Hey @elonmusk, was that a meeting about saving Vine?” I forgot…”
There was no public response from Musk to this tweet. But Chief Jerk is the king of keeping everyone guessing as to who he is actually going to do next – so again, you can’t read much/anything into his public silence then. (Musk also tried to walk away from buying Twitter entirely before agreeing to close the deal last week; so even in the past few months, there have been quite a few cycles of ups and downs.)
When Yusupov and Mask to have while there’s been talk of a Vine reboot, the former’s response to another Twitter user’s question last month — when author Eli Pariser asked the Twitterverse for “a smart take on why Vine died, even though it was basically TikTok” — may provide some clues as to what any discussions could be focused on.
Vine’s founder hit back at Pariser, complaining that he didn’t build the features he needed “in time” — likely due to another blind spot he admitted, around not understanding the importance of capitalizing on trends like lip-sync videos — and accusing in the demise of the program, the inability to help creators monetize.