Ever since YouTube’s conception in 2005, video-makers everywhere have had an international outlet for content creation. Over time, more and more platforms came to be; some have failed, while some have genuinely left (or will leave) a lasting impact on the way we consume media as a whole. Today, the most popular types of videos across the entirety of the internet are short-form, generally under sixty seconds. This is not particularly surprising given the popularity of social platforms promoting this style of content. Let’s take a closer look.
Short videos got off to a quick start with Vine, now a discontinued platform that reached immense popularity. Launched in 2012, Vine was home to many viral, “OG” videos – most of which are still etched into the minds of people worldwide today. Eventually, the Vine experiment failed, and TikTok was thrust to center stage. It’s worth noting that Vine had a seven-second video time limit, while TikTok is much less restrictive. TikTok took the success that Vine had and continued to build upon it. Since launching in 2016 and skyrocketing to popularity during COVID-induced lockdowns, the tremendous success of the platform has forced the hands of several other social media sites. For example, YouTube integrated a new “Shorts” feature, which behaves almost the exact same way as TikTok. Moreover, Instagram’s “Reels” feature is yet another effort to capitalize on the trail blazed by TikTok.
TikTok is much more lucrative for creators looking to monetize their content than Vine ever was. With brands always looking for up-and-coming creators for advertising purposes, what was once deemed impossible (or, at least, very unlikely) is a very real possibility for thousands, if not millions of creators around the globe. Even better, TikToks can be recorded right from your smartphone – no fancy camera, microphone, or recording studio required! Of course, these can be used, but often a TikTok is a simple recording by someone without a ton of technical expertise. This opens the door for everyday users to make a lasting impression and carve their own unique paths, now more than ever before. Such could be the foundation of a new business or brand.
The interesting thing about TikTok, and really any other platform to offer similar content, is that content is rarely discovered through search. TikTok’s algorithm and “For You” page generates videos to display on a suggestion basis. This means that, essentially, one has little idea as to what might be shown to them next. However, this presents challenges of its own. With today’s typical user demonstrating a short attention span, content not deemed “exciting” enough will simply be skipped within a few seconds – especially since no one would have specifically searched for it.
The evolution of short-form video content on the internet has exploded over the past decade. From breaking news to silly memes, the upward trajectory of the style first imposed by Vine and continued by TikTok has been amazing to witness over the years. Who knows how our media consumption may evolve over the next decade?