NOTE: A version of this article first appeared on my Medium page – http://www.figphotos.com…
Obviously, Instagram isn’t over but it is for me. I have deleted the app AND my account because — well everyone knows — it’s a sh#t sandwich.
The Insta platform is being taken over by short videos (Think TikTok) and photographers have to work to “satisfy the algorithm.”
It leads to a mindless pursuit of followers and likes and in the end means very little in terms of real engagement for all but a few superstars.
(I do not have a man bun — I am an old man — I am not good looking — ergo — I am not ever going to be an Instagram superstar.)
As a toy photographer, I have to admit it was hard for me to leave Insta. Six to eight million toy photos are posted there each day. Most the prominent toy photographers in the world simply use their Instagram handle as their sole identifying signet.
BUT — it’s just not worth it to me. On Instagram, there are a slew of ads that I don’t care about mixed in with videos that I don’t care about mixed in with nasty politics that seems to be focused on destroying my country (and it’s people.) Oh yeah and it’s very hard to properly display a photograph on the Instagram platform and even harder to get it seen — even by your own followers.
I only had about 15,000 Instagram followers. Mind you, I never paid for any Instagram followers so I think all mine were real, but that number is insignificant compared to the cool kids.
In the end, I just don’t care if I need Instagram to succeed. I am okay with not succeeding — by their metrics, anyway.
All I want to do is share my photography on a simple platform that encourages real engagement; that pays homage to the images and that doesn’t force photographers to adjust their style to an app’s algorithm.
Even though Vero has been around for seven years, it’s just coming into its moment right now. Why? I think it’s because photographers are leaving Insta in droves, and because they need somewhere new to go — Vero is the latest greatest app to try to dethrone Insta. Will they succeed? Probably not. But if Vero can continue to simply EXIST, then they offer something I want and need so I am putting my stock in Vero.
As a photographer — there’s lots to love about Vero.
It uses a chronological timeline instead of an algorithm to distribute content to your followers. (Just think — you don’t have to buy an ad so that YOUR followers will see YOUR content. How novel!) All the photographers I know will applaud that feature. Also, unlike Insta, Vero has no trouble displaying vertical images without cutting off the top and bottom. Why Instagram cannot get this right is beyond me, but Vero does — get it right that is.
It is a social media app that works on a phone OR a tablet OR the desktop (the latter being in Beta but it works) and I like the ability to post from the desktop.
The layout is beautiful and you see the images from the people you follow, not the people who want to sell you something. Go to Instagram for five minutes — then come back and re-read my last sentence. You see the images from the people you follow — not the people who want to sell you something.
I like the fact that I can embed links in my posts (you can do that on Insta but they aren’t clickable) and I also like the fact that it’s easy to find new contacts and work by using hashtags. Since you don’t see a random feed of images from people you don’t follow, the hashtags on Vero are very important. As I learn which ones work, I am getting better traction.
When I look at all the photography apps out there, I seem to enjoy Vero the most — followed closely by Flickr. Flickr costs money so that is a dealbreaker for some. Vero is free — for now anyway.
I do not know what their business model is. I assume they will offer some extra benefits to paid subscribers and I will gladly pony up to help them have a chance to succeed.
For now –
1. No ads
2. No algorithms
3. No datamining
4. Authentic user experience
5. Beautiful interface
6. No cost
7. High engagement
Vero’s cofounder and CEO is Ayman Hariri, son of assassinated Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. His involvement has put some heat on the platform because of his past politics and business dealings. Also, simple racism and xenophobia have played a part in such pushback.
I for one grow tired of trying to ascertain the history of people who create these platforms. Nobody is perfect and if the platform works, I am okay with it. I just don’t have time to spend hours on the Internet finding things to be outraged about. Sorry — just telling the truth. It’s not that I don’t care — it’s that I know my participation or lack thereof on a social media platform — regardless of its owner — will not change the world.
To wrap up — here are the details on Vero:
WHAT — social media app for visual creatives
WHERE — you can get Vero at the link below https://vero.co/site/newsroom/photography-on-vero
COST — nada — it’s free
If you do decide to try Vero, follow me there (vero.co/scottbourne) and I’ll follow you back.
No social media app is perfect. Vero isn’t either. But in my opinion, it’s the best hope on the horizon and what will determine its ability to succeed is not its billionaire founder or even its feature set. What will determine whether or not Vero can dethrone Insta is YOU AND ME. If enough of us jump ship, get a Vero account, start posting the images we love, and doing so without being worried about the almighty algorithm, then maybe — just maybe we can all end up with something better.
I do see some of the toy photographers I know and admire are already on Vero as are some of my other photography friends. That makes me think it’s the right place for me.