A couple of months ago I deleted Instagram. I’d simply had enough.
I’d had enough of the algorithm from hell, missing my friends’ posts as they weren’t deemed important enough and also that it was extremely difficult to connect with potential readers.
Let’s not forget how vapid it’s become, too. If I saw one more picture of a carefully manicured hand, with an expensive watch strewn across an Audi steering wheel I was going to lose my mind.
Instagram was the underdog when it began. A place for people who liked taking photos and wanted to share them with the world. Now, it’s a competitive playground for hashtag junkies and the vein. Facebook took it, bastardised it and Instagram went to the dogs.
Since deleting Instagram, I feel happier, less insecure and I barely take photos anymore. I go out for dinner and I don’t even think about touching my phone to ‘capture the moment’. Instead, I just live in it. It’s liberating.
For me, Twitter is on its last legs. It’s depressing. Full of extremist arguments, trolls, political hate and offended whingers. I’ve never particularly enjoyed using Twitter, but I see how it can be addictive. Even though I’m a writer, I’m also a visual person and prefer my social media to inspire me with imagery. Twitter can be funny, but more or often than not, it’s just irritating.
I enjoy Facebook to a certain degree. It’s where my real life friends and family live. It’s the place I catch up on the lives of those I don’t see often, and who don’t see me.
Creatively, it’s stifling. This is mainly due to its advertising, algorithms and how extremely difficult they make it for people like me to get noticed. I can upload a blog post and it’s seen by 20 people, but hey, if I give Facebook some cash they’ll ensure 3,000 people see it. Funny that.
Vero: True Social
Upon hearing about the new, anti-social-media-social-media platform, Vero, I downloaded it, pretty sharpish. They describe the app as having, “less of what makes it suck, more of what makes it great”.
I was confused at first when I went straight to the desktop website. I couldn’t see any sign-up or login links and then I realised it’s literally only available as an app. Just like Instagram in its heyday.
I liked the look of the website from the get-go. Mainly, because there was a picture of Prince, pre-fame, with an afro on the main page. If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what it is.
Why Vero is Better Than Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
Anti Social Media Addiction
The message ‘Helping to Address Social Media Addiction’ is the first thing you’ll notice when you log on to their website. As more studies are conducted, books and articles are written about social media addiction, Vero has tuned in to a big problem and found a way to help their users, not hinder them.
The Vero app has the capability to log how much time you’re spending on it and let’s you know through the ‘Usage Info’ feature. It’s telling me currently that I’ve used Vero for 22 minutes today. Not too shabby. This feature can be turned off if you’re not happy for this data to be collected.
They Work for You, Not Advertisers
Most of the current big players in the social media sphere today started out as a true way to connect with others. Somewhere along the way, it became about how much money can be made through advertising and the relationship between the platform and the user became warped.
Suddenly we’re seeing sponsored content from big advertisers dictating what we’re shown in our news feed. Let’s also not pretend that Facebook isn’t spying on us. This might sound conspiracy to the max, but I was having a real-life conversation about how I’d love to go to Nashville. I opened up Facebook and an advert from British Airways presented itself to me, offering a trip to the musical capital of the United States. Yes, Nashville.
We all laugh about it, but after the recent events involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, it’s all just getting a bit too scary at Casa Zuckerburg.
Vero will eventually charge a subscription fee, and that’s how they’ll profit. So, the user will be the customer, not an advertiser. They were offering free membership for life to the first 1,000,000 users but that’s just been extended and it’s still currently free.
Instead of using harsh lights and bright colours to entice us in while giving us a migraine, Vero use a very sophisticated and smart colour palette of blacks and greys with hints of blue. It’s all very soft and easy on the eye.
My favourite feature is the fact that we can share music, powered by iTunes. If you’re a big music nerd like me, that’s very fun. You simply find the song you’re listening to, share it with your friends and let them know if you recommend it or not, along with your review. Its the same with books, movies, TV shows, a physical place or you can simply share a photo or a link.
It’s an excellent way to recommend stuff you love to your mates. As Vero say, “these are the things we really connect over, so we made them easier to share, enjoy and discover.”
Organise Your Connections
On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, whatever you share is available to all your connections. Ok, so you can add people to restrictive lists on Facebook, but it’s extremely time-consuming and who can be bothered?
With Vero, you can categorise people into four.
Close Friend (eg. Husband, best friend, family)
Friend (eg. a work friend, someone you see occasionally)
Acquaintance (eg. a professional contact)
Followers (eg. People who follow your content, but you’re not connected with them personally)
This means you get to post what you like and you’ll be the judge of who sees it.
For example, if it’s something quite personal, you can select your close friends. Alternatively, if you want to upload something work related but don’t think your friends will benefit from it, simply choose to share it with your acquaintances. It’s up to you how you organise it.
Perfect for Creative Industries
Vero still use hashtags, so you have the search capabilities like Instagram. Unlike Instagram, there aren’t shadow banning tactics, popularity contests and algorithms. This gives you the opportunity to get your creative work out there, to the people looking for it.
It’s also a great place for creative industry types to connect and share their work, without it being lost due to a video of a puppy wearing a hat doing the rounds, deemed more newsworthy by Facebook.
I seriously hate social media platforms that don’t use chronological feeds. Now, I don’t have to try and find a silly button to see the latest posts by artists and musicians I love. I can support my creative friends and engage with their content in a timely manner and hopefully, that will be the same for my creative output.
So it probably sounds like I’ve been sponsored by Vero to write this, but I haven’t. Trust me.
I literally only found the app less than three hours ago. I was so obsessed with my first play around and I can truly see the potential. I want to get as many people I know using it, so I’m not as lonely.
I really hope Vero doesn’t end up in the social media graveyard before it’s had a chance to make an impact.
Make sure you get your free for life membership before the deal runs out.
Let’s make social media fun again before Brexit, Trump and Avocados on toast ruined it.