Vero keeps popping up in my social media feeds at the moment, specifically Instagram. It seems a large volume of users have started using the new social media app and are encouraging others to give it a try.
Seductively slick and stylish in design, it appears that Vero has a key feature of allowing you to arrange your contacts by your genuine figurative proximity to users. That is, whether they are a close friend or family, or a loose acquaintance. Then you can broadcast or narrowcast updates accordingly.
The app is trying to convince us this is necessary, presumably because of the level of social media noise and our lack of ability when it comes to intelligently filtering that noise.
This itself presumes power users with existing high numbers on other platforms. Such users, I have sensed are growing frustrated with issues of reach. They have dedicated serious time and commitment to generating big numbers, hundreds of thousands of followers, but through good old bait-and-switch methods, algorithm changes geared towards monetising channels through advertising have drastically reduced their organic unpaid reach. Facebook pages and Instagram accounts have both suffered reach limitations as a result. Perhaps this has had the effect of reopening the market to new upstarts willing to guarantee reach to relevant audiences.
For many though, it might appear to be unnecessarily overcomplicating social media because it’s attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. There are many users with no ulterior business motive who have an Instagram or Twitter account for fun, just to chat with their friends, just like another read-only television channel. It seems possible those relatively early adopters ready to quickly try another channel could simply be creating new spaces to chat with each other, at least for the foreseeable future.
A social media and smartphone dependency backlash has long begun. More people are waking up to the idea that, while addictive and rewarding in some vague way, it’s all a little pointless. It offers no actual return on investment unless you’re willing to go extremely hard at it and drive those numbers into the hundreds of thousands. And even then, so what? How valuable is it? Do those inflated numbers of Likes actually convert into anything more meaningful?
If you want to tailor updates and broadcasts to specific audiences, there are traditional, old boring media methods. Email, text message, instant message, phone calls. This one is a little ‘out there’ but there is actually meeting people in real life, without a phone on the table. There is nothing wrong with these things, but they are not packaged in a stylish aspirational new app hinting at a new world authenticity.
For those weary, fatigued and frustrated by the broken promises of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Vero could be the one that makes all their dreams come true.