20 November 2016

DIGITAL - Twitter Shifts Focus, Kills Vine

Twitter is struggling.

The platform had close to 1 billion inactive users in August of last year, and users have continued to flock to rival platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Some users find Twitter confusing or overwhelming, and issues with poor response to harassment are long-standing.

Twitter has finally begun to address the harassment issue and this may make the platform more welcoming to a wider variety of users, but it might be too little, too late when compounded with their other issues.

Although they committed in their 2015 Q4 earnings announcement to, “fix the broken windows and confusing parts… that we know inhibit usage and drive people away,” they still struggle with a disengaged and distrustful user base.

This may be exacerbated by the company’s decision to kill Vine, a service that was never able to bring in revenue but was incredibly popular with a wide range of users.

The decision to eliminate Vine is part of their move towards more focus on the news, and on live events, with more live streaming of current events such as the presidential debates.

While reviews of the platform’s new live streaming experience and the Periscope app have mostly been positive, that won’t entirely offset the disappointment of Vine users.

Vine users, primarily creatives and artists, will move to platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram, and Twitter risks losing their engagement entirely.

Vine, and Twitter itself, was not able to keep up with other platforms in terms of management stability, responsiveness to customer demands, or profitability.

In an effort to stay afloat, Twitter has laid off 9% of its workforce, or about 350 jobs. And it’s taken steps to shift focus and become more welcoming to users.

Will it be enough?

Unless Twitter finds a way to generate further revenue through advertising or other means, probably not.

However, Twitter hopes to gain stable profitability moving forward, and it is possible that airing live streaming events on the Apple TV app will provide the ad revenue opportunities that have been missing so far.

By Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a writer, editor, academic, and animal lover who came late to her appreciation of pets. At 18, a rescue pup named Tasha saved her from a depression and she hasn't looked back. She has worked as the canine behaviour program coordinator for the Calgary Humane Society, and was a dog trainer specializing in working with fearful and reactive dogs for many years. She doesn't have any pets right now, but makes up for it by giving her petsitting clients (and any dogs she comes across on her frequent coffee shop adventures) extra snuggles.

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