TikTok vs. Byte
Which looping video app is best?
Looping videos have been searching for a home since Vine went offline in 2017. Many platforms have offered a place to stay, but only two seem to be a perfect fit. TikTok and Byte have been showing themselves as the perfect platform for looping videos to settle down, but which platform will get the bid?
TikTok was first introduced to the world as a short video app that encouraged lip-syncing with audio. The app merged with Musical.ly in 2017 to create a bigger and more wide-spread demographic. Today TikTok has over 500 million users, and had even surpassed other popular social media platforms on the app store. As a user of the app, I’ve noticed that the users are mostly kids ages 9–18. Older users don’t seem to get the same engagement as the younger creators. Having a younger demographic isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s not a bad thing either. Younger users have the potential for band loyalty, and may stay with an application until the very end. However, the short attention span of many young users may cause the platform to suffer in numbers in the future.
Byte is a new looping video app created by Dom Hofmann, the creator of Vine. In 2018, Hofmann announced that he wasn’t done creating and wanted to build a new video looping app. Flooded with positive feedback and responses, Hofmann opened the Community Forums to a select few who expressed interest. The Forums became a place to express ideas, and collaborate on what we wanted to see in the app. The Byte app has had two beta roll-outs, both very successful in projected numbers. In its final state of beta testing, Byte has more activity than Facebook Lasso.
While Byte has been in beta testing, TikTok has been pulling users and coined itself as “the new vine”. TikTok users have found themselves at media conventions (VidCon), and in various compilation videos on YouTube. Byte users have been patiently holding out for the release of the 6.5 second looping app. As a beta tester and member of the Byte Community Forums, I wanted to hold out for the release of Byte, but I needed my short video fix. I downloaded TikTok to share my creativity and connect to quickly discover how young the demographic was.
Uploading content to TikTok was a gamble; some days I would have a bot comment a laughing emoji, and other days I’d have a 12-year-old comment “ur not funny, go away”. I knew that my content was funny, but not for the demographic I was in. I wanted to connect with other creators, but couldn’t seem to find any over 18. I believe that comedy, as well as sense of humor, evolves over time, and unfortunately my humor was too evolved for the young users of TikTok.
On Thursday, September 19th, 2019, Byte beta opened to select members of the Community Forums. Thankfully I am one of those select members. I am pleased to share that the app is so far everything I could want and more. The 6.5 looping videos and community are all I could have ever asked for. I feel validated, seen, and heard through the content that I am creating and the interactions I am making. With videos being 6.5 seconds, users get to witness the root of humor; and if a particular byte wasn’t your favorite, you only wasted 6.5 seconds on it as opposed to 15–1:30 on TikTok.
When everyone’s super, no one will be.
TikTok not only provides an opportunity for longer videos that are good, it provides an opportunity for bad videos to be longer. TikTok also provides users with multiple in-app effects from transitions and editing features, to filters and sound audio. I cannot tell you how many videos I’ve seen on TikTok with the same sound, same filter, and same editing, just by different people. Byte on the other hand is only 6.5 seconds and doesn’t provide the editing and extra features. If you want sound in your byte, or an effect or filter, you have to do it yourself.
Dom Hofmann said it best himself “adding new features doesn’t always mean more creative possibilities: sometimes it means less”. It’s practically impossible to express your individuality and creativity when everyone else is doing the same thing. It’s even worse when following your own path makes you an outcast among creators.
This is one of the most popular TikTokers, he is known for his “editing skills”, and by editing, I mean his use of editing in-app.
This is a Byte chain for September 21st that allowed collaboration, connection, and creativity. No edits were made in app, and each user added their own individual flair. You can see how each user spent time on their part, or allowed themselves to have fun. I put this chain together and am so pleased with how it turned out.
While they may be two separate examples from two separate platforms, the idea remains the same. Creativity thrives in limitation, and community thrives in individuality. While TikTok and Byte may be just starting their feud, I have a strong feeling that it will be a short battle with Byte coming out on top.