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Saturday, February 1, 2020

Vine is back like it never left

I loved Vine, who didn’t? Well, Twitter for one, since they killed it, but its impact on sociocultural aspects can still be seen today. After Vine died in 2016, it left a void that, for many people, wasn’t filled until TikTok blew up around the world in 2018 and throughout 2019.

Although TikTok’s algorithm provides a highly addictive feed, it isn’t Vine. There seems to be less creativity on TikTok, since there are many trends and challenges which result in the same videos and dances, but with different teenage girls. Vine was incredibly random. There was comedy, music, tricks, whatever.

Luckily, Dom Hofmann —  the founder of Vine — released Byte about a week ago. The app has been long in the making and work on it was actually halted in may of 2018 after Hofmann announced not enough funding could be generated for V2, which was then a side project, leaving many anticipating fans disappointed. However, in November of the same year, Byte, a rebrand of V2, was set for release in spring of 2019. After long beta testing, it’s finally here.

Byte is very much Vine 2. Looping, 6-second videos are back and so are the different categories, like comedy, cute, art and sports and it’s off to a good start with 1.3 million downloads in the first week, of which 780,000 were in the first weekend (Vine launched in 2013 with 105,000 downloads). In the same weekend, TikTok was downloaded 8.2 million times, sketching the huge popularity of the Chinese-made app.

It’s David vs. Goliath with such numbers, but Byte may prove to be a sanctuary for those who are fed up with hearing the same songs over and over again on TikTok. Another aspect is monetization. TikTok doesn’t offer any options for its creators to directly make money on the platform, while Byte announced testing of its restricted partner program, which will offer 100% of revenue for a limited time, among other perks.

Since its launch, the app already has seen a number of updates which added multiple features requested by its users. It remains to be seen if this pace is sustainable, but the team seems to be trying to get close with the community.

One of Vine’s problems was that a lot of views actually came from other platforms, such as YouTube, where Vine compilations were very popular. It will be interesting to see how Byte will deal with this.

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