The competitors of TikTok have been in all the news recently for essentially copying the most successful moves of the short-form video-sharing app. But while everyone else is pivoting to video, TikTok is now taking swings in the other direction: photos.
Thursday, TikTok announced a host of new editing and creation features, but the only tool that caught our eye was the Photo Mode. Because the image that TikTok shared on your official announcement displayed a photo carousel-style image post that looks a lot like Instagram.
We're excited to highlight a range of new editing and creation tools available on TikTok 🎉 https://t.co/aOchdcIdT9
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) October 6, 2022
Photo mode (see below) is expected to allow users to post multiple photos in a carousel. TikTok’s announcement appears to say that the carousel allows viewers to swipe through the featured images and the images will “automatically display one after another.”
And with those familiar carousel dots seen in the image above, TikTok 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 a photo mode post. Photo mode begins its rollout today and should be available in the US and “most regions globally.”
TikTok’s recent pivot to photos feels strange considering all of its competitors are still trying to copy what made TikTok successful: its viral short-form videos. This recent TikTok change is strange, but not entirely surprising. TikTok has been incorporating its own version of its competitors’ features and concepts for a while now. In May, it announced the ongoing rollout of its Friends tab feature (so users could keep up with their friends’ videos), which feels like it’s pulling a page out of the old Facebook/IG playbook to use. social media platforms to keep up with friends rather than primarily using it as a platform to build an influencer/content creator career.
And then last month, TikTok announced its own version of daily snap photo posts first introduced by social media app BeReal. The TikTok version is called TikTok Now, and its posts look a lot like BeReal posts. Both TikTok Now and BeReal involve sharing a photo with friends, although TikTok Now also offers the option to share a short video.
It’s weird to think that despite all the commotion around Facebook, IG, Twitter, YouTube and everyone else trying so hard to catch up with TikTok, TikTok is here seemingly minding its own business, doing its own thing and running its users back to the basics of social networking with simple photo exchanges to friends.