TikTok is currently all the rage. It’s currently the #1 iPhone app. Your kids are probably on it. If you watched the Superbowl, you probably saw some “TikTok famous” people in some of the ads (but you might not have known it).
All because people (especially young people) think short-form video is really fun! What’s short-form video? It’s really short video clips (15 seconds on TikTok).
Short video is quick and easy to watch, and you can easily make a point, or a joke, or share one thing … in 15 seconds or less. And it’s all done on your mobile device, within an app, so these short videos are also really easy to create.
TikTok is getting a lot of press lately, but making short-form video is NOT a new idea. Here’s a really short history on short-form video on the web.
Let’s go back 12 years ago to 2008. 2008 was a big year for short-form online video tools:
- That’s when Flickr started allowing people to post up to 90 second videos. Flickr users weren’t really into that at the time (because Flickr was for photos!). Flickr is still around (barely, but it’s still hanging on!).
- Seesmic.tv launched around the same time. They were called the “Twitter of video” by some. Seesmic’s goal was to create and share short Twitter-like video comments online. They switched gears in 2009. (And were bought by Hootsuite in 2012).
- One more … remember 12seconds.tv? That was the first short-form video social media tool I ever experienced. With 12seconds, obviously you could create 12-second videos and post them. It was fun! And it lasted like maybe 2 years. It folded in 2010.
Jump to 2011, when Snapchat appeared. With Snapchat, you can create 10-second video clips, pics, filters, etc. Snapchat was also one of the first social media channels that created what I call ephemeral content – content that disappears after 24 hours. But it’s still short-form video (and a precursor to Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube Stories).
Fast forward to 2013, when Vine.tv appeared. Vine launched in 2013, and let people post 6 second videos! Who wants to make those? Apparently a lot of people. By 2015 they had 200 million active users. Then Twitter bought Vine, and discontinued the service in fall 2016. Vine actually kickstarted some people’s online careers. (Think Lele Pons, Jake and Logan Paul, etc).
Vine had competition, including Instagram, who added 15-second video sharing in June 2013. Now you can share videos up to 1-minute long on Instagram, and video is HUGE there.
2017 – That’s how we get to TikTok. TikTok launched in September 2017. Two months later, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, bought Musical.ly (yet another short-form video app) and merged that app and user base into their TikTok app to create what we have now.
All that to say – short-form video is easy and fun to create, can actually convey a message … and it seems like it’s here to stay.
Combine that with ephemeral video content from Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories … or even just quick video clips on Facebook posts.
What’s it mean? You might not need to dip your toes into TikTok just yet (though that’s where all your teens are at the moment). But should you be experimenting with and creating casual, short-form video?
Yes, probably so.