Here's the New Social Media App Everyone's Talking About
Do we finally have a "new Facebook?"
First, there was Facebook. Then there was Twitter, then Instagram, and Snapchat, and in between them, an elephant graveyard of networking apps that tried and failed to take off. It's been a while since Snapchat declared itself a new social media agent, and, with Facebook's new algorithm change slashing down publications left and right, more than ever people are wondering: what's the next big thing?
Based on the data, it would seem like the answer is Vero, an app launched in 2015 by Lebanese billionaire Ayman Hariri, which surged to the top of iOS app downloads over the weekend.
So, what makes this app succeed where Google Plus and others failed? According to the manifesto on its website, Vero is dedicated to bringing social media back to basics, to the way Facebook was when it first launched, when it was all about sharing a funny photo of your cat with your grandmother in Venezuela, and not about constantly trying to get you to buy shower curtains just because you visited Bed, Bath and Beyond one time.
As such, Vero aims to be free of advertisements, the way Facebook was when it first began. This is particularly enticing now that Facebook has lost so much favor for unwittingly letting Russian trolls hack the election with fake ads. To make money, Vero does plan to become subscription-based sometime in the future. When it first launched, it offered a free lifetime membership to its first million registered users—an offer it has extended indefinitely due to "extraordinary demand" now that that number has been surpassed.
The other thing that makes Vero unique is that it promises to make it easier to create different posts for different audiences. (I personally like this idea because I'm a pathological Facebook user who often posts off-color stories meant to make my closest friends laugh, and completely forget that I'm Facebook friends with my old Oxford literature professor—and my father's rabbi.)
At the same time, Vero's belief that this will lead to people being more "authentic" on social media remains to be seen. It's true that there has been, over the last few years, an undeniable backlash to the whole "perfect lives" thing that people present on social media. In 2015, 19-year-old Instagram social media star Essena O'Neill made a dramatic exit from her accounts—and her millions of followers—saying that her seemingly perfect life was all an illusion. At the time, it seemed like a watershed moment that would encourage people to be more authentic and upfront on social media, especially once studies began appearing indicating that social media stalking was making people feel lonely and depressed. Putting up photos that made certain peoples' lives seem perfect, everyone concluded, just made everyone else feel like garbage.
Of course, that hasn't stopped very many of us from logging whenever we're sitting idle for more than a few seconds. Regardless, the attempt for authenticity is admirable on the part of Vero—which is Latin for "truth"—and may just set it apart from all the other apps out there. And speaking of social media: Read up on Why This Teacher's Amazing Blackboard Drawing Is Going Viral.
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