Now that the Trump administration is looking at whether TikTok should be banned in the United States over security concerns, millions of “TikTokers” are looking for an alternative. “Byte”, a similar video sharing app that was released earlier this year is getting a lot of that TikTok traffic now.
In the past 2 days “Byte” has rocketed to the top of the social media app category in Apple’s App Store. Downloaded millions of times by mostly Gen Z fans of TikTok. What is Byte?
The app was created by the same team that gave us “Vine” several years ago where people posted 6-second video clips. That app turned video creators into superstars but Twitter pulled the plug in 2016. Many of those Vine fans migrated to the app Musical.ly which was gobbled up by a Chinese company that merged it with TikTok.
Byte video clips are just 6-seconds rather than the 15-seconds allowed by TikTok. It lacks some of the tools of TikTok but creating videos is very simple. Just point the camera at your subject and hold the shutter button. You can add some special effects and graphics, then choose a channel or category and post.
Byte’s layout is simpler and you can easily browse and follow hashtags and channels. Up until now, Byte’s primary user base has been 20-somethings and older who were very fond of Vine and were maybe turned off of TikTok’s many viral challenges and dances. Will Schreiner who creates Byte videos with the handle “Beeshrine” told me he’s been using Byte since March.
“It’s not just funny people doing weird things and videos and it’s not just dancers,” he explained. “There’s people with crazy talent in every genre and it wants to include all of them.”
Schriener said Byte, like Vine, makes it easy to engage with a community or other users. Something he never was able to do using TikTok.
One interesting thing I found when reviewing Byte is that many of the TikTok fans experimenting with Byte are members of Generation Z and they do not like Millennials. Many posts using the hashtag #alttiktok which was trending, were from people trying to push Millennials off the app and platform. Schreiner said he is very much aware of the generational gap between young TikTokers and the alt-tiktok crowd but he believes Byte is big enough for both generations. And said people who’ve been using Byte since it was released isn’t going anywhere.
Schreiner also said with so many young TikTok users migrating to Byte, the platform is sure to evolve.
“All these new people and all this attention, we don’t know what it’s going to look like two weeks from now.”
Byte is certainly different from TikTok, at least it is right now.