Byte: the new, but familiar network

There’s a new social platform in town, and it feels familiar, byte.

It’s an app for short-form, looping videos “and a new community for people who love them,” according to the company’s Tweet on 25 January.

It’s a simple concept – users can film or upload and share six-second videos which appear on a loop, and get as creative as they like with it. 

“But isn’t that Vine,” I hear you say? And wasn’t it killed off by Twitter in 2017? Yes and no. byte is a new creation from Dom Hoffman, one of the people behind Vine, and he’s been working on a revival of the app since 2018. In January 2020, byte opened for business. 

It’s early days, but if the anecdotal evidence of one of our team members is anything to go by, it’s already proving popular with young social media users. 

There are some problems. byte has been criticised for the amount of spam that’s been appearing in comments, something that Hoffman has addressed in a post to the community – Taking out the garbage” –  saying byte will ramp up moderation and make it easier to block comments. 

It’s also launched with an official partner programme for creators of content, who can make money from their videos.

According to an interview with TechCrunch, byte will share revenue with content creators, which might stop them building a big following and then moving over to platforms such as YouTube where they can make money (as happens on sites like TikTok). byte is currently gathering feedback and ideas from content creators on ways to work together so precise details aren’t yet known, but expect to hear more soon. 

It’s way too soon to speculate on what take-up will be like, but the ability to monetize could be a big draw for content creators. And if it’s too soon to talk about users, it’s certainly too soon to talk about brand involvement. There is currently no information on brand participation on the site, but as with most apps, if byte attracts users, it’ll attract brands. And if Vine was anything to go by it’ll be the creative brands who win here. 

So for now, this is one to watch. We’ll update as we know more.

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