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  • Ioan Lee

TikTok Versus Vine

TikTok has somehow managed to capture the energy of the now-deceased Vine, a platform

that encapsulated everything ridiculous and absurd about contemporary life via ultra-ironic, strange and bizarre humour at seven seconds a time.



At least, that is the general consensus around TikTok; once marvelled from a distance, in just

four years has become “the new vine” and boasts an incredible 800 million-plus active users

worldwide. The absurd, surreal and often plain silly comedy of vine has seen a noticeable

presence on TikTok, but just how similar is the platform?


A simple YouTube search seems to affirm the feeling that vine has been resurrected with

TikTok as the séance – we can see videos with tens of millions of views collectively

proclaiming “it's official, tik tok = vine” (over 6.6 million views and available to watch

here) and a video entitled “Tik Tok Memes That Hit Like Vine” claims in its description that “Tik Tok Memes are just longer Vines!”



Based on this, we can assume that the humour of TikTok is similar to Vine, and yet it's content

is so different: TikTok is full of dances, lip-syncing, challenges and Vine had a few dances

but the extent to which challenges were utilised is significantly less. However, if we examine

an article entitled “Why are Vines so funny?” we can see many of the humorous elements of

Vine that is equally true of TikTok:


"The key to all good comedy is timing. Vine’s strict formal constraints inevitably mean that it

must become the viner’s first priority.


As a result, the punches must come more quickly, the cadence of a joke more finely calculated, any surprises more deftly hidden. It can encourage a sudden change of direction: a jarring shift can be the funniest and most surprising punchline to a vine that begins by offering you something familiar – see “bring the beet in”.


Sometimes it can encourage abrupt endings, the form’s inability to contain the

content key to the beauty of the joke."


(Why Are Vines So Funny? Anna Leszkiewicz, New Statesman 2016 – available here:

newstatesman.com/science-tech/internet/2016/10/why-are-vines-so-funny)


So, we can here see the outlines of why vine is so funny; timing, abrupt endings and surprise.

It is easy to see why this works for TikTok too!


TikTok seems to be less focused on humour, however, and there are many posts that serve a

different purpose.



Compared to Vine, which was mostly centred on humour, TikTok is much more varied in its content and conventions.


However, we should not forget that its reception has been similar, and when the world was

(generally) confused about TikTok, we were told by Junkee in an article entitled “Junk

Explained: What The Hell is TikTok, And Is It The New Vine?” that:


“The idea behind TikTok is pretty simple: it’s a platform for sharing short videos, just like

Vine. Videos on TikTok can be up to 15 seconds long, there are different songs and filters

you can apply to them, and you can create collaborative split-screen videos by replying to

someone else’s post.”


TikTok is “just like Vine” in the sense that you share short, often funny videos, but to PINQ it

seems to be something much bigger than Vine. There are pockets of TikTok that are vinelike

in their comedy, but TikTok is much more complex, not only due to the absolute mammoth

userbase but because of the multitude of purposes it is used for.




TikTok Versus Vine from a Marketing Perspective


Looking back on Vine, we can only marvel at the amount of marketing that could be inserted

into seven-second videos. If we look at advertisements on TikTok, they are usually designed

to replicate native advertising and entertaining – most adverts are framed to contain a

narrative rather than outright awareness that they are adverts.


Of course, TikTok tells you if content is sponsored, but if you’re not paying attention it is easy to mistake an advertisement for genuine content.


This can be compared to Vine, which had the same style of native advertising, but with only 7

seconds would be a lot more visible. Vine was seen as a bit of an impossible platform to

market because of this, and it grew concerns around the ever-reducing consumer attention

span. However, there was some success to be found with advertising on Vine, such as the

Dunkin’ Donuts Superbowl advertising campaign and many other examples.


Compare this to TikTok, who appears to have new and innovative advertising campaigns

every day, we can conclude that the humorous elements of vine and TikTok are apparent

even in advertising – however, because our humour has adapted, this means that the content

on Vine can appear outdated.



Which platform do you prefer?


Keep an eye out for next weeks blog, where we examine the difference between TikTok and Instagram's latest feature Reels!

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