TikTok Now is the latest feature in the ever expanding universe of TikTok. Unveiled in the US on September 15th, 2022 as the ‘newest way to be entertained and connect with others on TikTok’, the premise of TikTok Now is to share a snapshot of your day with your friends and/or followers at a random moment each day. This can be either a selfie and a photo taken from your front and back camera simultaneously, or a ten second video.
Branded by TikTok as ‘a daily photo and video experience to share your most authentic moments with the people who matter the most’, it all sounds a little familiar. Put simply, this new feature is TikTok piggybacking off of the success of trending platform BeReal and absorbing BeReal’s features in a same-but-different way.
What is BeReal?
BeReal was the trending app of the summer, with #BeReal searched 2.0B times on TikTok. The concept behind the app is simple- ‘everyday at a different time, everyone is notified simultaneously to capture and share a photo in 2 minutes. A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life’. Once you’ve posted your front and back camera photos, you can see what your friends are up to in real time, and comment or react to their post with RealMojis.
Embraced by Gen Z as an authentic alternative to traditional social media where the content you share is highly curated (ahem, Instagram), BeReal enjoyed a surge of popularity during the summer jumping from 921,000 monthly active users in July 2021 to 21.6 million in July 2022.
With this many users sharing authentic snippets of their lives every month, it was only a matter of time before larger social media platforms jumped on the trend.
How does TikTok Now work?
Like BeReal, TikTok Now prompts the user to share an authentic snapshot of their day with their friends, at a random time each day with the notification ⚡Time to Now⚡.
Aside from the names being different, the limited differences in the two apps are that TikTok Now gives you an extra minute to take and share your content, it allows the user to share a short video instead of a photo and it has ever so slightly more limits around age restrictions and privacy.
As TikTok Now is a brand new feature, TikTok is still experimenting with the release and presentation of it. In the US, TikTok Now is offered as an integrated feature within the TikTok app, replacing the Friends tab which previously showed you the latest videos posted by your contacts. However, outside of the US TikTok has released their new feature as a standalone app, perhaps capitalising on the relative obscurity of BeReal in markets outside of the US, UK and France.
Is it a fad or a fun new feature?
While the reception of TikTok Now has been somewhat frosty, with BeReal devotees taking to TikTok and even Twitter to slam this new development, the hashtag #TikTokNow has 50m views demonstrating that, if anything, the concept is gaining coverage and getting people talking.
Even though it is clear that TikTok Now is a clone app of BeReal, the outraged members of Gen Z seem to be forgetting that this is the cycle of Social Media trends. Remember the introduction of YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels in 2020 after TikTok popped off? Or even the adoption of Stories on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. Every time a new app or feature becomes popular, every platform tries it on for size and once it becomes just another feature the users forget that it used to be unique. TikTok’s adoption of BeReals features might make it the first major platform to blatantly rip it off, but it won’t be the last* and might not even last in the long run.
*Instagram are reportedly working on their own BeReal clone called IG Candid…
While TikTok Now is available as an app in select countries and regions across the world, and is available as an incorporated feature in the main TikTok app in the US, TikTok have not yet announced plans to roll it out in the UK.
So for now for us at Shaka, it’s still ⚠️Time To BeReal ⚠️.