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Is Elon Musk bringing back Vine?

Musk posed the question on Twitter, but is there any merit to it?

elon musk and vine logo
Image: KnowTechie

Elon Musk is openly mulling the possibility of reviving Vine — the short-lived TikTok precursor killed by Twitter in 2017. 

Vine allowed users to post seven-second video clips. Like TikTok, it presented these in a scrollable timeline designed for virality and engagement. 

Although the app failed to prove commercially successful, it nonetheless was a cultural phenomenon.

It launched the careers of many well-known influencers — like Jake and Logan Paul, David Dobrik, and Shawn Mendes — who have gone on to enjoy further success on YouTube, TikTok, and elsewhere.

The Poll

In a Twitter poll, Musk asked his 112.4m followers whether he should: “Bring back Vine?” At the time of writing, the “yes” camp enjoys a significant lead, with 69.4 percent of the vote share.

You shouldn’t read too much into this. Musk’s favorite pastime is shitposting, and while some of his more audacious boasts (like buying Twitter) eventually came true, it’s not implausible he ultimately discards this idea. 

Indeed, Musk himself seems relatively lukewarm about the idea. 

When MrBeast — another major YouTube celebrity — showed enthusiasm about the prospect of a new TikTok competitor, Musk asked: “What could we do to make it better than TikTok?”

How Vine could work in 2022

On a practical level, Vine would struggle to stand out in 2022. Short-form video content was novel in 2013, when the product first launched, but is now ubiquitous. 

Vine wouldn’t merely compete with TikTok. It would also need to fend off the likes of Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. It’s an entirely different landscape. 

And Musk, frankly, has bigger fish to fry. He just bought Twitter — an ailing and deeply unprofitable social platform — for a steep markup. And now, he has to turn it into a sustainable business

Launching yet another product — even one viewed with such affection and nostalgia — would be a complication Musk cannot afford at this moment.

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Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Past work can be found on The Register, Reason, The Next Web, and Wired.

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