As Donald Trump moves to ban TikTok in the U.S., Twitter is reported to be in "preliminary talks" about combining the viral social video platform with its own. Details on those talks or what that would look like aren't clear, but I can only imagine combining these two would result in some kind of turducken of doomscrolling and lip-syncing teens.
With TwikTwok, a newly-launched browser-based app by makers Tanya Kurkova and Matt Gordon, maybe imagining the combo is a little easier—and it's not so bad.
On TwikTwok, you scroll through a feed of randomly-selected videos from the top video twitter accounts, according to the site's FAQ. It's nice!
“I think TikTok content was quite fresh and diverse when it started. Now people know what gets likes it is becoming quite predictable,” Gordon told me. “I think almost all social networks got through that evolution. In the early days the content is very diverse, strange and edgy. As people see what works it becomes more uniform and boring. Twitter seems to be an exception to that. So combining Twitter content with TikTok UI is an interesting experiment.”
Gordon said on ProductHunt that the app "unexpectedly went viral" on Hacker News, so it's still a little buggy. But my time in the TwikTwok was pleasant: I saw some dogs, some weirdly soothing eggs in a roller machine, goats in a tree, science experiments. It reminded me of the StumbleUpon days (RIP), where a web app could send me down a rabbit hole of content that's only lightly curated by what's popular at the moment.
I won't go as far as to say it's Vine back from the dead, nor will it replace my Twitter and TikTok habits. But TwikTwok captures a little bit of the joy that Twitter has lost, and that TikTok has algorithmically ground into dust.