TikTok pivots to photos as its rivals chase viral videos

TikTok’s competitors have been in all the news lately for essentially copying the short-form video sharing app’s most successful moves. But while everyone is turning to videos, TikTok is now swinging in the other direction: photos.

on Thursday, TikTok announces several new editing and creation features, but one tool that caught our eye was the photo mode. Because the picture that TikTok shared in its official announcement depicts a carousel-style picture post that looks a lot like Instagram.

We’re excited to highlight a range of new editing and creation tools available on TikTok

— TikTokComs (@TikTokComms) 6 October 2022

Photo Mode (see below) is expected to enable users to post multiple photos to a carousel. TikTok’s announcement appears to be saying that the carousel allows viewers to swipe through featured images and the images will “automatically be displayed one after the other.”

Smartphone with photo mode of Tiktok on white background.

And with those familiar carousel dots seen in the image above, TikTok’s photo mode looks like an IG post. But Photo Mode also has something that sets it apart from a standard Instagram carousel post: You can add music to Photo Mode posts. Photo Mode begins its rollout today and should be available in the US and “most regions globally.”

TikTok’s recent pivot to photos seems odd, given that all of its competitors are still trying to imitate what made TikTok successful: its viral short-form videos. This recent switch-up to TikTok is strange, but it’s not entirely surprising. TikTok has been incorporating its opinions on the features and concepts of its competitors for some time now. In May, it announced the continued rollout of its Friends tab feature (so users can keep up with their friends’ videos) — which feels like it’s a page from the old Facebook/IG playbook for using the social media platform. taking out. With friends rather than using it primarily as a platform to build an influencer/content creator career.

And then last month, TikTok announced its version of the daily prompt photo posts, first introduced by social media app BeReal. The version of Tiktok is called Tiktok Now, and its posts look a lot like BeReal posts. Both TikTok Now and BeReal include sharing a photo with friends, although TikTok Now also offers the option to share a short video.

It’s strange to think that for Facebook, IG, Twitter, YouTube, and everyone else working so hard to catch up with TikTok, that TikTok is here to focus on its own business, doing its own thing, And bringing its users back to the basics of social media with simple photo sharing with friends.

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