So you don’t have to 😉 – Maybe you should, though!
In a recent roundup of news, I linked to a Peter McKinnon video detailing 10 reasons to try out the social platform Vero. It seems to provide an alternative to Instagram that isn’t chasing TikTok’s debilitating features, offers more possibilities for sharing and connecting, and hasn’t yet turned on the content creators that support its growth.
Does it live up to the description? And can you create a big following from scratch on Vero (something that more or less impossible on Instagram, unless you are already a major celebrity elsewhere).
Yes. And … maybe.
At the bottom of your Vero feed, you’ll find a large + symbol which allows you to share something new.
One really cool feature is that this sharing isn’t limited to photographs.
Multiple options are at your disposal that create a far more social vibe than the usual “look at me”, “look at my incredible Santorini photos”. I can definitely imagine more interesting relationships than the wannabe influencer picture-perfect selfie-displays that haunt IG.
In fact, I wish something like that had turned up long ago.
In practise, though, and in my very limited experience and following of other photographers, photos do seem to represent the mainstay of social exchanges. If you can really talk about exchanges, as it still feels like a very blog-like experience: one person posts, others like or comment.
Still, it does feel like Vero is pushing actual exchange, and less of the mindless ego boosting that its competitors prey on. The world badly needs more of that thinking, and maybe it’s just users who need to readjust to a new form of discussion, rather than exposure in search of likes.
Better still, one sharing option is to present someone else’s account to your own following. Say I follow someone that really appeals to me, I can introuce his/her profile to my millions of followers. And that’s brilliant, as everyone benefits. The person being introduced gains exposure, my audience gains new knowledge, and I appear like an interesting and generous person. Win, win, win. You know, the kind of thinking societies used to be built on before the mass ego-rush of the past decades.
There’s more privacy embedded into Vero, as well. As you post something, you can elect to share with everyone, with distant relatives or with close friends only. Each being defined by the number of contacts between yourself and the person, I believe. Again, great thinking. Though, again, in practise, everyone seems to be sharing everything with everyone, in search eternal glory 😉 But that might change, and I may be wrong on this.
Hopefully, this answers the first question. Yes, it lives up to the social-destination promise.
The second promise, well … it probably depends on you.
Initially, I posted one photo and waited. Crickets.
I then decided to follow a bunch of members, carefully avoiding the megastars who would never return the favour … more crickets.
After enduring enough crickets to fuel both a plague and a flour factory, I then started using hashtags, AND commenting thoughtfully on some nice photos posted by the members I was following. Almost immediately, likes and comments started appearing on my own photographs.
That’s interesting. Maybe the hashtags are doing all the work. But, if Vero’s algorithm incorporates reciprocity or favours positive engagement, here’s another reason to like the platform right there. It’s a positive and intelligent way of breaking the filter bubbles that others have created to direct opinion and dumbify the planet for their own profit (Dante has written a special addendum just for those terrible people).
It’s not all glorious. Let’s not be naive. The big names on Vero are already big names on Youtube, Instawham and elsewhere. Worse, they are exhibiting the same influencer tactics (like flying fast drones through gorges and canyons where wildlife can only be disrupted) that have made other platforms so drippingly disgusting. Don’t expect Vero to be the miracle, equal-chances, big reset.
But I do feel social interactions – for now – can be a lot more interesting here than elsewhere. And it does feel like someone putting in the work of posting reuglarly, tagging, following, commenting, … could gain a decent following without being a superstar elsewhere.
After a while, I called it quits. This was an experiment, I always test new platforms to understand how they work, mostly for my consulting work. But life is too short to spend on social media and I like to read, and write. Slow and deep isn’t what any social media, Vero included, is geared towards. I’ll stick to minor league blogs and paper books, thank you very much 😉
But it does feel like Vero is creating an inflection in social vampirism and herding its members in a far more interesting and beneficial direction. Let’s hope I’m right, and that it lasts (which depends on unlikely innovation in monetization strategies).
All said and done, there’s one use case for Vero that would seem extremely promising: clubs and similar communities. I’d be interested in participating in one of these, and the sharing options would be far more useful than those of the incumbents.
The ability to follow a close group of members of a community, share with them elements of various types, have good talks in comments, share books, music without long blog posts … all that would make for a good time. If anyone’s interested, I’m in! It could even be the – more open source and collaborative – future of DS 🙂 What say thee?
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