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My personal Instagram vs TikTok experience can be summarized in three points.

(i) TikTok's content is more engaging (ii) Instagram's content could be easily recreated on TikTok (iii) TikTok's explore feed is addictive

(i) TikTok videos are high-definition, fluid videos with catchy music. TikTok's compression algorithm almost seems lossless since videos are much more crisp than on Instagram/Facebook. I even believe they are upsampling videos from 30fps to 60fps (although this is just a personal observation and may be wrong). The catchy music is probably self-explanatory.

(ii) Think of typical Instagram content: an influencer posing or a travel snapshot. Now imagine the same content as short, crisp, and fluid videos with engaging music. Instagram content creators could easily recreate their content on TikTok in a more engaging way.

(iii) Upon opening the app you are shown the explore feed. You are shown a single TikTok video in fullscreen and you can swipe up to load the next video. The TikTok app seems to preload the next 5 videos which in practice means that content is always instantly available. The algorithm is quite quick in learning what content you like to see.

I think this quote sums up my thoughts quite nicely: "When I was a product manager at Facebook and Instagram, building a true content-first social network was the holy grail. We never figured it out. Yet somehow TikTok has cracked the nut and leapfrogged everyone else." — Eric Bahn, General Partner at Hustle Fund & Ex Instagram Product Manager




> (i) TikTok videos are high-definition, fluid videos with catchy music. TikTok's compression algorithm almost seems lossless since videos are much more crisp than on Instagram/Facebook. I even believe they are upsampling videos from 30fps to 60fps (although this is just a personal observation and may be wrong). The catchy music is probably self-explanatory.

This is something I didn't think about: do they play video by itself and sync the audio to the video? They could then cache the audio once, and replay for all similar videos.


There are definitely videos with the exact same soundtrack so it makes sense for them to cache the audio stream.


What does a content first social network mean? What’s the opposite of content first?





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