While Vero may or may not have lasting power, the app has some worthwhile features that Facebook should poach.
It’s been about a month since Vero – True Social burst into public consciousness as the hip new social media platform and… so far, it hasn’t really lived up to the hype.
If you’re one of over a million people who signed up for Vero in the past month you may be, like me, enjoying the design of the app itself but ultimately turned off by the comparably minuscule social network offered.
But what if Facebook took a cue from Vero and poached some of its best features?
A return to the chronological feed
One key part of Vero’s pitch to potential users is the chronological news feed. My Vero newsfeed is pretty slow, but as friends make posts I can catch up by going through the past day hour by hour. It’s why Vero proudly claims to use no algorithms to determine the content that you see, and it’s a direct shot at Facebook, which has been attempting to better curate the newsfeed for users using algorithms since 2011. And as we all know, they’ve gotten really good at it in the years since.
You can’t blame Facebook for developing an app better designed for organizing and share content with friends. They’ve found a winning formula for keeping people checking back in and refreshing their feeds for new content.
But shouldn’t users have more control some say in the way we digest social media? Facebook offers features like Friends Lists for organizing and browsing specific friend feeds, but it’s clearly not as important as the default feed. Those pesky algorithms are the lynchpin to Facebook’s business model. Okay, maybe Facebook requires complicated algorithms for all the mess of content it has to sort and organize… but the rumors and demand for Instagram to bring back the feed are getting ridiculous.
This debate isn’t going away, and it was only a matter of time before an upstart like Vero came around to, hopefully, give Facebook and Instagram a good shakeup.
The problem is Facebook and Instagram are still the place where over a billion of us go to interact with our social circles online. Meanwhile, my Vero network is up to 14 friends. Vero might fail as a social media platform, but it shouldn’t make the idea of chronological social media feeds a failure by association.
The Collection tab
Another nifty service Vero offers is the Collection tab. It gives you a way to quickly filter through content posted by your friends over the past days organized by the type of content you’re given as options to post.
Having tested Vero with a smaller network of friends only using the app intermittently, I can see the potential here. Imagine looking for a new song, movie, or book recommendation from your friends and having every song, movie, or book all your friends have ever recommended just there.
Instead of having to scroll through feeds to find specific content, Vero sorts all the different posts from your network of friends and followers into different types and lets you browse through each collection chronologically.
Ironically, Instagram already has a Collections tab but nobody would ever find it. Instagram has it so far buried into the UI that it’s basically useless, and only collects and organizes posts that you’ve saved while browsing. Why not sort posts I’ve liked based on hashtags?
It just seems like such a missed opportunity — why not do easy stuff like curate a collection of all the dog or cat photos friends have shared? Or all the videos shared by friends —presented chronologically. The Collections tab wouldn’t even need to detract from the main feed but is a feature that would be extremely useful for the end user.
No ads / Paying for social media
Ads have been a part of the Internet experience since the earliest days — you can do your best to block them but you can never block them all.
In 2017, Google reportedly removed 3.2 billion bad ads, which is nearly double the reported number removed in 2016, which was double the number pulled in 2015. You get the idea — bad ads online are becoming more and more of a problem.
Social media, to this point, has been a free service for user supported by advertisements — whether the app is promoting ads on your feed or giving advertisers access to your profile information. The model has proven to be wildly successful for Facebook, who continues to command our attention by satisfying our desire to stay connected with friends while subtly slipping a few ads in there and using algorithms to tweak what we see in the main feed.
Enter Vero, touting a social media experience with no ads that will, apparently, be supported by a paid subscriber base. They haven’t implemented the paywall yet or even explained the pricing, but that’s the plan.
Facebook could go the Spotify route. Spotify offers a free version of the service that’s just filled with ads, with the option of a paid subscription for users who want an ad-free experience. Brands could still post and connect with followers, but you’d have to be following the brands to see their posts.
Will people pay to use Vero? Probably not.
Would people pay to use Facebook or Instagram if it meant only seeing content shared by friends and no advertising? Ask me that question seven years ago and I would have laughed in your face — but in 2018? Given an option of "subscribing" to Facebook or Instagram for a customizable and entirely ad-free social app, I would certainly consider it. But it seems as if Facebook makes way too much from the marketing and advertising business to offer such a choice to its daily users.
What do you think?
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below!
March 17, 2018 at 05:06AM