Some social media platforms come and go (RIP Vine and our first love, Bebo), while others simply never were to begin with (We’re talking about you, Google+).
Others seem to come out of nowhere, convince everyone they’re the next big thing before quietly erasing themselves from our collective consciousness just as quickly (Ello… and goodbye).
Few survive long enough to ingrain themselves into our lives and daily procrastinatory habits as much as the likes of Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.
A new app, called Vero, is aiming to do just that – and is already being touted as the “new Instagram”. It’s been around for a couple of years, but has only in the past few days and weeks truly picked up momentum.
But what is it all about and what has all the fuss been over? Here’s everything there is to know.
What is Vero?
Vero, meaning “truth” in Esperanto, was first launched in 2015 by Lebanese billionaire Ayman Hariri, movie financier Motaz Nabulsi and venture capitalist Scott Birnbaum.
It’s aiming itself at “people who want a safe, genuine reflection of their real-life relationships in an online setting”.
“People naturally seek connection,” the company’s ‘manifesto’ reads. “A false sense of connection left us lonelier than ever.”
“In real life, people are never presented with a one size fits all audience,” the company argues. “We share different things with different people.”
“Most social networks reduce everyone to a friend or a follower. This encourages us to only share the parts of our lives we think are the most interesting.”
“When you can control who sees what, you can behave in a way that is more natural, which we believe ends up being better for you.”
Vero – not to be confused with Vevo – says it has “decided to create something more authentic” than other social media apps.
How exactly is it different from other social networking apps?
Vero is, in many ways, a mixture of elements from various platforms that already exist. The news feed looks similar to Facebook – with posts, comments and likes – but there’s also an emphasis on photos, videos and the ‘influencer’ aspect of Instagram.
The main difference is that the Vero feed is in chronological order (one aspect many Instagram users have petitioned to see return to their platform) and doesn’t contain annoying paid-for ads.
“We don’t curate it, manipulate it, insert advertising in it, or hold back posts,” Vero says. “You see what has been shared with you, when it’s been shared with you. You won’t have to pay to ‘boost your post’, or ‘reach your audience’.”
However, this doesn’t mean it’s completely free of advertising. Unlike Instagram, companies will be able to link to external sites using Vero and can pay for a “buy now” button.
There’s also some other subtly different features, including being able to post books, movies and TV shows you’ve been watching and more ways to categorise your “connections”. With options of “close friend”, “friend”, “acquaintance” or “follower”, this latter function might be the most awkward thing to happen to friendships since MySpace’s top 8.
Why has it suddenly become popular?
Vero’s sudden boom can be attributed to several factors, including the decline of its higher profile rivals and lack of enthusiasm for ad-driven social media sites as a whole. It’s no coincidence that Vero’s rise comes on the back of Facebook’s well-documented woes and Kylie Jenner signalling the supposed end of Snapchat.
But it also might have something to do with FOMO. Vero recently announced that the first million users would get a free account for life, which has led to a snowball effect and many influential tweeters and Instagrammers flocking to the site as early adopters.
And it’s free?
Yes, but only for a short time. Vero’s bosses have made it no secret that they intend on charging users eventually, but are giving away free accounts to its first million users. (Free accounts are currently still available at the time of publishing.)
Vero argues that its subscription-based business model means that “customers, not advertisers” are in charge.
“Our subscription model will allow us to keep Vero advertising-free, and to focus solely on delivering the best social experience instead of trying to find new ways to monetize our users’ behavior or tricking them back into the app with notifications,” they say.
Have there been any problems?
There have been various reported technical issues that have come with the increase of interest in the app over recent days.
Some users have complained about not being able to sign up, while others have had trouble publishing posts on the app.
“We’re experiencing an outage due to heavy load,” Vero tweeted yesterday. “Apologies again for the issues we’re having. We’re working to restore things. We really appreciate your patience.”
Another tweet earlier today read: “We continue to make progress towards solving the issues we’ve been having. We want to thank all who have sent us messages of encouragement. Thank you again for your patience.”
So, will Vero actually take off?
It’s too early to tell, but not everybody is convinced:
Vero is just gonna be 1 million inactive accounts of people who signed up early "just in case"
— Tyler Glaiel (@TylerGlaiel) February 26, 2018