TikTok's Big Change: Longer Videos Spark Creator Backlash!

TikTok's rise to popularity sparked a revolution in video content

by Faruk Imamovic
TikTok's Big Change: Longer Videos Spark Creator Backlash!
© Getty Images News/Drew Angerer

TikTok's rise to popularity sparked a revolution in video content. Now, as the platform experiments with longer videos, it faces both opportunities and challenges, reshaping the expectations and experiences of its vast user base.

The Short-Form Video Boom

When TikTok exploded in popularity during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, it set a new standard for social media entertainment. Its short dancing and comedy clips offered a refreshing and engaging distraction for users worldwide.

This success initiated a short-form video arms race among social platforms, with giants like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube hurrying to introduce similar features. These platforms encouraged users to create one-minute videos, displayed vertically in an endless scrolling feed, in a bid to mirror TikTok's appeal, particularly to the crucial teen demographic.

However, TikTok's recent move towards longer video formats has sparked concerns among some of its creators. They fear this shift may dilute the platform's original charm: the ability to swiftly browse through diverse content and the ease of creating videos without extensive planning or resources.

Creator Concerns and Platform Evolution

Nicki Apostolou, a TikTok creator known as “recycldstardust” with nearly 150,000 followers, voices a common concern among content creators.

“I don’t always have a minute of content in me,” she explains, expressing worry over the platform's evolution away from its short-form roots.

“I feel like there are so many creators out there who came to TikTok because it was the short-form video app,” Apostolou adds, highlighting a potential alienation of creators who thrived under the original format.

In response, TikTok spokesperson Zachary Kizer emphasizes the platform's commitment to evolving its creator support mechanisms.
“As we continue developing new ways to reward creators and enrich the TikTok experience, we value the feedback and direct insights from our community to help inform our decisions,” says Kizer.

Krysten Stein, a critical media studies scholar, notes the strategic shift.
“The model of the short-form video was really useful when TikTok first launched... it’s continuous scrolling and it goes fast,” she remarks.

Stein also points out TikTok's likely intention to attract advertisers by demonstrating the platform's capability to engage viewers for longer durations.

However, she remains curious about how the audience will react, considering the platform's initial allure was its quick, snackable content.