Warning: Some linked videos may contain vulgar content.
Many of us have fond memories of the original Vine app. The short-form video platform predating TikTok came out in 2012 and was shut down shortly after Twitter bought the service in late 2016/early 2017.
Vine co-creator Dom Hofmann had been working on a successor to the original app since 2017, precisely a year after TikTok launched as a lip-syncing app in Asian markets. Byte, which is the official name of Hofmann’s post-Vine app, officially launched just a few months ago on January 24th, 2020.
In a vacuum, Byte is ideally a viral success, filling the void that our hearts had ever since Vine closed its doors in 2017. But in reality, the world has already found its successor in TikTok.
The app that was once popular for cringey lip-syncing videos is now home to a whole world of unique creators who post sketches, vlogs, pranks, and more every day. People like Lil Nas X have gained stardom from the app, and the platform continues to grow despite Byte’s launch earlier this year.
Enough about TikTok, what’s Byte all about? Byte, much like Vine that came before it, is solely-focused on short form video content (“short” in this case means 6 seconds or less).
The platform, while still in its infancy, has a small community of influencers using it. Most of these Byte-ers seem to be unique to the platform, as I don’t recognize them from TikTok, Vine, YouTube, or any other social media platform. There are a few that I recognize from TikTok, though, such as BigCatDerek, a wildlife vlogger who captures daily videos of his domesticated tigers, leopards, and other big cats.
The videos on the platform are mostly strange and rather boring, at least for my tastes. Every once in awhile you will find a hidden gem that you could watch on loop for minutes at a time (which is saying a lot if you think about it).
Something that I’ve realized while using the app is that you have to reset your expectations. While this app is going to almost always going to be compared to TikTok, it is just a different experience thanks to the six second video length (which is the same length format Vine used back in its day).
Instead of full vlogs and sketches, think of Byte as an app for snippets of joy and humor. It will be interesting to see how content on the platform evolves.
For now though, we have Byte as it currently stands and we have TikTok as it currently stands. The apps have an almost identical layout, with videos taking up the entire home screen and being divided into two sections: Following and For You (called “Your Mix” on Byte).
The bottom bar is divided into Home, Discover, Capture, Activity/DMs, and My Profile on both apps as well. Byte allows you to Rebyte a video (which is essentially a retweet but on Byte) while TikTok allows you to remix a video, react to a video, or collaborate with a video via the duet feature.