Twitter killing Vine strikes at the heart of my young daughter’s hopes and dreams. Not just because it comes out of the blue, but because it’s a cruel, ugly message being delivered at a sensitive age. In the shadow of Trump, everything takes on a weight and impact far beyond expectation or preparation.
Her evolution with Vine took root outside our immediate awareness: an occasional viewing of an edit she was working on, the slow building of a network of peers and the vinerati that fuel such a community, and eventually the success of having her work copied, templated, and even favorited by Vine editors themselves.
Meanwhile, the devolution of Twitter became business and even front page news. We all know the verdict of the Street, the apparent weakening of the prodigal CEO, the glass slipper failing to find a suitable foot. And now the immolation of Vine. That’s perfect: kill the babies at the moment of their awakening. It recalls the removal of the Track feature at the very moment it created a hybrid social search graph unequalled to this day by Facebook or any other.
For God’s sake, @jack — this is stupid. I was young enough to remember when FM radio was born and flourished in the Golden Ages of the Sixties. Long “album” cuts flowing from one into the other, presaging binge viewing and the takeover of television by mobile context-aware notifications. If you don’t quite follow what I’m saying, I bet you can feel my anger. Kill Track to fix the Fail Whale. Fine. Crush Vine underfoot like a cigarette butt and make my daughter cry? She will learn this lesson soon enough.
I love Twitter almost for its myopia, for its periodic discarding of its developers, for its Rodney King-esque stumbling along the road to mediocrity. It has always stayed one step behind disaster through the good offices of its users, the ones who invented all the stuff you guys made possible with the simple framework of character term limits. The elegance of the @mention, the grace of the Quote Retweet, the very clunkiness of the work-arounds adding up to a relentless charm.
I learned early in life the peril of ignoring the subtle threat of suicide. But killing Vine may be Twitter playing Russian Roulette with every chamber filled. Surely you can cobble together an exit strategy, one that will preserve that which is unique while serving the relentless market and its requirements. Don’t get me wrong: you guys are doing heroic work to stay afloat. If anything, the world needs you more than you need it. Talk about too big to fail. Maybe it’s time to call the bluff, that if Twitter falls, someone will come along. Maybe we like Twitter too much to let it fail, even with all its frailties and idiots, stars, and the likes.
I’m not going anywhere. I think Twitter is magic. I think Ev has been right all along, and Jack holds the keys to the Golden Eggs. If I had to choose between Twitter and Trump, I’ll take Trump and a bomb shelter over any move to replace Twitter. But this Vine thing. Make a deal to fix it. Find it a new home. Find a way to Peace with Honor. Restore the ability to upload. Let the editors manage it for free. Wire the API to the major bot busses. Reward the players who support Final Cut University. Keep six seconds of music protected from the music cartel. Don’t make our daughters cry.