Once upon a time, Twitter created a short-form video platform known as Vine, launching a video meme craze which spread like wildfire. When the service was shut down in 2016, its effects rippled into other platforms, with many of Vine’s biggest stars moving to either YouTube or Instagram. From its first days, Vine seemed to be a more creative and expressive platform compared to the others of its time, and now it seems like the app TikTok might be trying to pick up Vine’s metaphorical torch.
TikTok is another video-making app from the same company that created the infamous app Musical.ly. The app allows users to create short videos with some form of music or audio in the background and, while the main focus of TikTok was originally to make music videos, the content seems to have diverged into something far more unique and interesting.
Like its sister app, Musical.ly, TikTok was born with very little respect from other platforms, namely YouTube. Many popular YouTubers made videos reacting to what they considered “cringey” TikTok videos filled with young men and women flaunting around for attention.
These commentators seemed to feel that TikTok wouldn’t become much more than its predecessor. It was seen as a vanity project for attention seeking youth to flirt and try to look cool and sexy. Not to mention much of TikTok’s advertising had been significantly over-the-top.
However, things have been taking a very different turn recently, with the app following a very similar direction as the meme darling, Vine.
One of TikTok’s most interesting features is its ability to let users react to other users’ videos. If one person makes a cringey dance video, someone else can make a video mocking it. This has led many users to come on to the platform solely to troll the videos they find vapid or annoying.
It operates a bit like dominos; one person will react to a bad video and it will spread to meme level status within the app. Also, there are creators that make videos specifically so they can be reacted to, like videos of someone pretending to hit or punch whoever’s watching the video. Then someone can make a reaction pretending to get beat up and these videos can be viewed side by side.
Of course, reaction videos aren’t the only form of memes that have spread on the app. Now there are many formatted memes popping up all over TikTok. Certain voiceover audio will gain popularity, with many different users creating videos of them playing around with the track. “I’m Already Tracer” and the “Here’s the Tea” are some of the most popular and well-known examples of these kinds of memes.
Like Vine, TikTok was originally created for a particular type of content that the platform moved away from. That said, the app definitely has a long way to go before becoming the meme giant that Vine was in its heyday.
But it’s also quite obvious that it is well on its way there.
The more people that join the app, the more it seems to focus on jokes and humor over serious content. There still are a lot of people creating more traditional TikTok content with music and dancing but these videos aren’t really the ones being noticed by other platformers.
Now many YouTubers are watching TikTok videos, not to laugh at them but to laugh with them. These videos are quickly gaining the respect of many people who were once fans of Vine. They seem to like the random and mocking tone of these TikTok memes and many internet stars have made videos reacting to some of these popular joke videos.
Most notably, PewDiePie, one of the biggest channels on the platform, has made many videos reacting to TikTok. He is very well-known for making videos reacting to and reviewing memes, so this type of content fits perfectly in his typical video lineup.
At first, these videos mocked the more vapid content of the platform but quickly began to join in on the joke. PewDiePie has made 15 videos (as of now) reacting to TikTok, with all of these videos being extremely successful. While it doesn’t seem like he’s directly called TikTok the next Vine, he’s implied it and seems to have developed an affinity for the platform.
Many of these YouTubers seem hesitant to outright make TikTok the new Vine and, honestly, who can blame them? The original purpose of the app is far from what it has become and many of the videos they can’t stand still have a strong presence. However, it still seems like the app will continue to move in that direction.
It has been said that Generation Z has some of the strangest forms of humor and these short video memes are no exception. A lot of the YouTubers reviewing these videos are getting older and might be somewhat out of touch with what the younger generation finds funny. So their stance on the issue has to be taken lightly.
While it can be difficult to imagine anything replacing Vine given just how unique of a platform it was, TikTok just might be able to pull off a similar feat. Obviously, TikTok is its own platform with its own unique creators and qualities and, even though it had a rocky start, it is finally beginning to be accepted by other creators as an interesting platform.
As long as there are people creative enough to keep pushing the bounds of what the app can do, TikTok has a long and bright future ahead of it.