TikTok alternatives? Is it dead already? No, of course not. But there’s no harm in being prepared. The track record of 99.9% of social media ventures isn’t great. In theory, there’s nothing stopping TikTok from fading away like MySpace and Vine. So why not delve into the other options that might take the reigns of mainstream creator culture in the not too distant future.
There are plenty of alternative apps to TikTok. These include Clash, Triller, Funimate, Lomotif, Cheez, KWAI, Likee, Firework, and VideoShow. While the platform has seen astronomical growth since coming onto the scene in 2018, one of these names may overtake everyone’s beloved TikTok.
Download any of these now and you’ve (possibly) got your pick of untaken usernames, unmade content, undecided followers. You can retire at 23, having made $50,000,000, and lounge in your rocking chair sipping a coffee telling visiting fans how you were among the first creators on Kwai to blow up and change the face of the app. You could say you were the Charli D’Amelio of Firework.
Below is a quick list of what you might be dealing with sooner than later. Maybe you’re already dealing with them. In that case, well done. You passed the test. Keep reading, though. There’s no harm in reading.
Likee is a short video creation and sharing app, available on iOS and Android devices. It is owned by Singaporean tech firm NIGO Technology whose parent company JOYY Inc. is listed on NASDAQ. It was founded by Jason Hu, an entrepreneur and former employee of JOYY.
Likee brings short videos, video effects and live streams into one easy-to-use app, much like TikTok. With the personalised feeds, viral videos are easy to find as well as more niche offerings. The app’s capabilities include visual effects, including 4D Magic and Dynamic Stickers, on top of video shooting and editing.
Clapper is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms focused on promoting real lives around real people. You can see the latest trends and people’s real lives as they unfold, as well as people’s opinions and talents. In their own snappy words, Clapper is “FREE to use, NO Ads, No BS just Real lives.” Their mission is to use technology to empower everyone’s life, so that everyone has the opportunity to show, the channel to speak, and the possibility to be seen. Best of all, as they can’t emphasise enough, no trolling and no shadow banning.
Build up your own following and be “an opinion leader”. Connect with friends and follow those whose opinions you want to hear. Follow people whose opinions you don’t necessarily want to hear if you like. Clapper’s has a feature called “Clapback” where you can express your opinion and easily view people’s opinions with support or opposition. A healthy balance. Clapper uses ‘equal opportunity’ algorithms to show ordinary, real, and diverse communities of people through via short videos and live streams, Anyone can easily record videos and be a part of their community. Based on your location events that are local in your area will be aggregated for you.
YouTube, launched in 2005, seemed to have run dry its possibilities until the arrival of TikTok which gave them a simple but highly effective idea: just copy TikTok. The video-sharing giants hopped on the short-form bandwagon with their Shorts feature. Like any feature of the sort, these 15–60 second videos are designed to entertain audiences and help brands and creators drive engagement. Like TikTok, YouTube Shorts are snappy, vertical video content created using a smartphone and uploaded directly to YouTube from the YouTube app. Using YouTube’s built-in creation tools, users can capture, edit, add music from major labels, add animated text, control the speed of their footage, and edit together multiple 15-second video clips to create their Shorts.
Viewers and consumers of their Shorts can share, comment, like, dislike, or subscribe to your channel while viewing the video. The content doesn’t disappear and remains on YouTube, unlike other short-form video apps like Snapchat or Instagram Stories. On the tiny chance you haven’t checked this out, it’s worth checking out.
Firework is a “freemium” social media app that lets you create 30-second videos in both vertical and horizontal format. It boasts filters that let you add visual and time effects to your videos, as well as music and text. Tools also let you “collaborate” with other users indirectly by splitting or editing their videos or making screen-in-screen videos of you reacting to them. Much like *cough cough* TikTok.
Videos can be posted to the app and shared across a wide range of the most popular social media apps. However, there’s no “Like” option or comments. Only “Not Interested” or “Share.” The app asks you a series of questions to determine your interests, and then curates videos related to them. You can browse videos by swiping left and right, or search by creator or hashtag, same as any other video-sharing app. You can also follow other users, message them directly, and share their profiles. Sponsored Challenges encourage you make videos regarding specific subjects and buy products from third-party vendors using a “Buy Now” button. What we’re trying to say is, Firework is literally TikTok.
Just like YouTube Shorts, you’ve also heard of Instagram Reels. But we have to give it a mention because it’s one of, if not the, best. Reels invites users to create and share videos with their friends or anyone on Instagram by recording and editing 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and other creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed. If you have a public account, make them available to the larger Instagram community through a new space in Explore. Reels in Explore offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a worldwide stage.
Reels in Explore showcases the cream of trending culture on Instagram. Here you can discover a selection of reels made by anyone on Instagram, in a vertical feed customised for you. You’ll also see some reels with a “Featured” label. You’ll receive a notification if your reel is featured in Explore. Featured reels are a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content they hope will entertain and inspire you. That’s right, inspire! Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they like on Instagram, and help anyone with becoming a big-time creator. And something you should get involved with, whether you’re a creator or consumer.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as “a medium for those in less-developed parts of China to share what they find relevant or amusing,” Kwai gives city-goers an opportunity to see the trials and tribulations - often boring but also often funny - of rural life. And we mean rural. The sticks. Specifically, rural China, which is a place that maintains tradition and then some.
Starting an account may necessitate some help from a Mandarin-fluent friend. However, once set up, the app is easy as pie to navigate. Gloss over the creepy “Nearby” button and head straight to “Explore” to find thousands of top-rated video clips posted and created by users across China. Expect anything from farmers harvesting sunflowers to toddlers hand-pulling noodles, or in Kwai’s own words per their website: “Wow for the same rainbow and upset by the same traffic jam.” Feel free to post yourself or kick back and enjoy the meandering but fruitful lives of random, isolated Chinese men, women and children.
Clash is the rebranded name of Byte, which was founded by Brendon McNerney, a former Vine star who at one point grew his own social following on the now-vanished app to over 700,000 followers. As someone with huge experience within the creator realm, McNerney believed he could offer a unique perspective on creator monetisation - something many popular apps have struggled with. Namely Vine. The Clash’s premise is that it can help creators identify, engage and monetise their strongest and most loyal fans. To achieve this, Clash introduced a set of tools for creators and fans, including a virtual tipping mechanism called Drops and a custom messaging system called Fanmail.
The idea is that creators could grow their overall fanbase by using larger platforms like Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, where they can monetise the audience through different methods such as advertising revenue share, brand sponsorships and other more direct methods, like tips and subscriptions. In the meantime, Clash could serve as the backchannel for the fans who are more invested in the creator’s ascension to the top of the food chain. Those who are willing to help fund a creator’s work, like you would on Patreon, or those who want a tighter relationship with their favourite creators.
A common annoyance across social media is the little to potentially non-existent payment in the event of a popular, widely-viewed, widely-shared post. Enter Compete. This is an app aimed to shake up the social media game by lettings its users benefit financially from their efforts. Compete contains a number of categories, including Move!, Change, Beauty, and Dance. In each one there are challenges set by influencers, such as copying a dance move, sharing a motivational speech, applying a bombastic makeover, etc. Users then create and post their entries for their fellow Compete users to vote on, with each challenge offering cash prizes for Rising Star, first and second place in the Popular Vote, and most creative video.
Compete comes with its own extensive music library and an intuitive video effects suite, similar to TikTok, so creating attractive, engaging content is a walk in the park. Challenges are created by genuine influencers and reputable users, and they’re all about expressing yourself and encouraging others. And worry not, Compete is heavily moderated, with zero tolerance towards inappropriate content or behaviour of any kind. This is one of the better ones we’ve seen. Jump on it while it’s hot.