Catherine Enos –Opinions editor
Vine was easily the greatest thing to happen to internet humor. The 6-second video format produced some surprisingly hilarious and viral memes that are still around today (if you search “Vine compilations” on YouTube, there are thousands of multi-million viewed videos). It was different from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or any social media platform. And then, at the end of 2016, Twitter (who had acquired Vine in 2012) decided to shut the app down. It was a blow to internet humor. Memes obviously still proliferate on social media, but there was something unique about these quick, creative and niche memes that Vine pushed out.
Musical.ly was another app known for short videos but it was mostly odd hand-dancing or lip syncing videos (and was the laughing stock of the internet). But something happened a year and a half after Vine shut down. Musical.ly was bought by another nearly-identical platform called Tik Tok. The app was steered towards a different direction– closer to humor and further away from the lip-syncing.
Today, the app is vastly different from what it was just a few years ago and closer to Vine. It offers a longer video time at 60 seconds, but the videos people make tend to be shorter. It can create some Vine-like video loops, while also allowing people to tell longer jokes.
It also has some features that Vine didn’t have– like being able to use another Tik Tok user’s audio over an original video, or allowing “duets” (a feature where a user films their video next to another video). The algorithm is a little different than Vine, too. On Vine, you could scroll for a while on the trending page, but you’d eventually reach an end. On Tik Tok, you can scroll for hours and still keep watching.
With all this being said, Vine set the foundation for apps like Tik Tok. It may have had its problems, but there was more originality. Tik Tok tends to be more “trendy” with people repeating and recreating the same exact meme (while still being funny). Vine would start off with a meme and people put their own spin on it (I’m thinking of all the “what are those?” spinoff Vines: an exasperated grandma replying “these are my crocs!” and Jurassic Park dinosaurs wearing shoes).
So, is Tik Tok the new Vine? The answer is no. Tik Tok is Tik Tok. But the only reason Tik Tok exists is because it has the foundation that Vine had set for it. Either way, both apps are great (or were great, in Vine’s case) and provide somewhere between seconds and hours of entertainment.