As with any new social media platform there has been a lot of discussion swirling around the interwebs this week about Vero - the new(ish) social media platform which aims to put the "social" back into social media. With an emphasis on sharing content and things which are important to you, Vero has actually been around since 2016 but has recently been talked about by a few key Instagram influencers and everyone's curiosity has been sparked.
This weekend saw Vero struggle to cope as the Instagram crowd, many of whom are frustrated with the algorithm, spam and promoted posts, flocked over to see what all the fuss was about.
I joined up on Sunday and I have to say that so far, I really like what I see there. When you post an update you have to decide what it is you are sharing. Is it a book you are reading? Is it a photo you want to share? Is it a film you went to see at the weekend?
Once you've done that you can chose who you share it to. Share it with all of those who follow you? No problem. Or for people you know (either in real life or online) you can choose to "friend request" them - the same as for Facebook. So, in theory you could just choose to share something with your close friends - although I haven't really tried this yet.
The way that this type of sharing really comes into it's own though is in the "Collections". Tap the folder icon at the top of the screen and you'll see a handy list of what people have shared with you in chronological order. (I'll repeat that bit for emphasis - In Chronological Order!).
You can see what photos people have shared with you that very morning. You can see a list of book recommendations that have been shared - like your very own personal library list. This side of the app really appeals to the part of my brain that likes to categorise and organise and it pleases me immensely.
Will it take the place of Instagram? I very much doubt it, Instagram is far too large and too embedded to be easily ousted. But, for now at least, it provides a fun and social aspect to social media that has been sadly missing from Instagram and other platforms of late. I don't know about you but it feels like a very long time since I felt a sense of fun whilst using Instagram.
For a while, there was Ello that a lot of Instagram people joined. But for me that never really felt as though that's where "my people" were. There were lots of beautiful images from photographers and artists but I never really felt as though my little woolly, crafty world found a niche there. It all felt too polished and just a little bit cold. Vero on the other hand feels like sharing a coffee with you best friends. Sitting round chatting, talking about what you are working on, sharing a book recommendation or planning a trip out. it feels like social media should be.
There has been a lot of discussion that Vero intends to monetise the app and will introduce some form of "paid" access. It is hardly surprising that an app will need to make money and from the reading I have done Vero have been very open and transparent about how they intend to do this. Clicking through to buy products (ie from a book recommendation) will generate income for the site and it may be that they introduce an advert free version or a subscriber version with additional features.
Again, that doesn't really bother me at all as long as everything is clear and up front. If I had the option to pay for a chronological version of Instagram I'd have had my hand in my pocket a long time ago.
I know that some people have had problems accessing the site as they have struggled to cope with the sudden influx of new members but, for what it's worth, I really like what I see there. And I'm really excited to see how it pans out in the coming months.