YouTube Really Wants People To Use Its TikTok Clone, Shorts

YouTube Really Wants People To Use Its TikTok Clone, Shorts
Image: YouTube Shorts logo

While most of the social media news this week was dedicated to Instagram and its terrible, horrible, no good and very bad updates, YouTube has just pushed out an update for its “Shorts” service, another TikTok clone. Obviously, there’s less controversy around it.

Yup, Instagram Reels isn’t the only TikTok clone. Actually, Google has been quite proud of YouTube Shorts, having just last month claimed that the service racks up 1.5 billion monthly users (that’s pretty darn similar to TikTok itself).

So what do you do when you’re hitting big numbers? You commit to the bit.

From today, YouTube creators will be able to create shorts out of their non-shorts videos. You know, the actual videos on YouTube. On the official blog post for the announcement, YouTube refers to these as “long-form” videos.

“You can now convert up to 60 seconds from your own existing long-form YouTube videos and turn them into Shorts using all the same editing tools that you know and love (text, timeline editor, filters, etc),” the blog post reads.

“If you select a part of your video that is less than 60 seconds, you can shoot additional videos with the Shorts camera as well as upload more videos from your gallery to make 60 second Shorts if need be.

“Shorts created from [videos] will link back to the original long-form videos so that people watching your Short can see the original video too. Importantly, only you as the original creator will be able to import your long-form videos into Shorts as this tool is not available for other creators to use on your content.”

I suppose with that last quote it’s worth specifying how YouTube Shorts differs from TikTok, or even Instagram Reels.

How is YouTube Shorts different from TikTok?

YouTube Shorts at the moment currently exists mostly as another way for creators to reach their audience. YouTube is an uncontested juggernaut in the online videos space: even Twitch streamers, whose audiences are mostly concentrated on Twitch, often use YouTube to store “VODs” of their streams, letting you watch them after they’ve gone live. Often, content creators will upload edited versions of their streams, shortened down to YouTube-friendly lengths.

YouTube Shorts is, in a way, an extension of this ecosystem. If you’re a content creator that uses a YouTube channel, be it a primary or secondary platform for your reach, you can create YouTube Shorts to cut down your videos into much shorter and mobile-friendly clips.

They’re not perfect, and it’s obvious that YouTube is coming for TikTok’s lunch with this, but at the same time, it’s not a terrible service or idea. It hasn’t had the same hate flung at it as Instagram Reels, but that’s mostly because it actually serves a valuable purpose. Instagram Reels, on the other hand, is largely forcing its users to pivot to video, which is a bit difficult when your sales pitch for the past decade has revolved around photos.

You can watch YouTube Shorts through the apps on iOS and Android, or by clicking the “Shorts” tab on the side of the YouTube webpage.

This feature is now rolling out across devices.