WTF is Vero
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen Vero ALL OVER your Twitter feed. It blew up last weekend, with people rapidly signing up and raving about the chronological feed and how flexible the app is to use. But…the sudden spike in interest in Vero didn’t run smoothly, and as quickly as we had all signed up we found ourselves struggling to post to the app or even see anything on our feed. The initial glitches seem to have put a lot of users off of actually posting to it, and after the initial hype their T&C’s were criticised and concerns about the founder of the app were raised.
So, I’ve been using Vero for the past week and getting to grips with it. I’ve read lots of posts about the concerns people have about the app (I recommend reading these posts by Nik Speller and Sara Tasker because they’re brilliant and unbaised) and spoken to as many fellow bloggers as I can about their feelings towards the new app. And the conclusions seem murky, some people are completely against it, others absolutely love it and the vast majority sit in the middle, unsure of whether or not to invest their time into an app that could fall out of favour just as quickly as it fell in.
For those of you who don’t get what this new social media app adds I’m going to give a brief rundown of how it differs from everything else on the market and how I’ve been using it over the past week. And for those of you who have concerns about the ethics of the app, I’m also going to share the conclusions I have personally come to after reading up on it.
How do you use Vero?
Ok so, once you’ve signed up to Vero (I would suggest using your real name, as you do on Facebook, unless you want to remain anonymous) you can add a profile picture and bio. I would go for something snappy and fun, it’s still very new so I wouldn’t worry too much about adding contact details or a link to your blog there just yet, just go for something that you think will reflect the type of content you plan to share to entice people into following.
Once you’ve got your profile set up, I would recommend going into the settings (bottom right of your profile page) and toggling ‘Allow Connection Requests’ off. This means only those who have your mobile number can connect with you, so people you don’t know personally only have the option to follow you. The reason I recommend this is because it means you can avoid connection requests from anyone and everyone, which can become a bit annoying, especially as you can’t delete them!
There’s different tiers to connections – acquaintance, friend, close friend – and personally I really love this. I’m putting my besties in close friends (it means I can share images and videos just with them), everyone I count as a friend in friend and people I rarely see or don’t see as a friend to acquaintance. Everyone and any one can follow you, so what I love about this is that it basically gives you a combination of Facebook and Instagram, meaning you can share private, family moments with your close friends and that killer outfit with your followers all on the same app.
When it comes to posting, you click the plus sign at the bottom of your screen then select what you want to share. You can share TV programmes you’re loving, places you’ve visited, images, video AND links to your blog posts and YouTube videos. This is where I really feel the app comes alive, over the past week I’ve found myself reading far more blog posts and watching YouTube videos via the app. It’s all pretty self explanatory, and when you do go to post, make sure you select the binoculars symbol to share with everyone who follows you! Now, say you don’t feel like watching a video as you’re scrolling, you can go into your collections (rectangular symbol next to your profile symbol at the top of the app) and scroll through all of the links those you follow have shared. Collections separates everything into the categories of things you can share, so you could delve into books to find a new read or Movies/TV to find something new to watch. Personally, I love this because it means I have a collection of content I can delve into when I’m bored, and I don’t have to search for people’s blogs or YouTube channels!
So that’s a very basic rundown of how I’m using the app right now and what I’m enjoying. They seem to have fixed their glitches for now, so I’m experimenting with it more and more and using it to share a variety of content on my profile.
Are there really ethical issues?
Now, there’s been a LOT of criticism and push back against Vero. It seemed the app was too good to be true and by signing up we were apparently signing over all rights to our images and content and even supporting a billionaire with blatant and cruel disregard for the workers of his family’s business.
T&C’s that give Vero full control of your content – The first criticisms I saw of Vero were about the T&C’s. I heard scaremongering statements about Vero’s terms allowing them to use your content for whatever they want but this just seems to be shoddily worded T&C’s and an overreaction. Vero follows the same line as Instagram’s terms, so if you’re a regular Instagrammer then there’s nothing new to worry about. In terms of privacy, their mission statement promises no data mining and emphasises respecting privacy so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Personally, I think if you’re fine with using Instagram and Twitter, there’s no reason to avoid Vero due to their T&C’s. If the T&C’s really do worry you, I would suggest maybe reviewing those of the other apps you use and considering deleting your profiles from those too because they’re pretty much the same!
The ethically dubious founder – I totally understand people’s concerns with what’s funding this app, and the upset and concern about his family’s business. But…I really do have issues with people boycotting an app for ‘ethical reasons’ when they turn a blind eye to so many other ethical issues with other aspects of their lives. If you’re shopping in Primark, and buying Starbucks lattes while having a cheeky read of the Daily Mail I honestly don’t understand boycotting Vero. Personally, I don’t think discouraging people from using an app really helps to make the world a better place. I would much rather spend my time buying a homeless person a coffee to keep them warm in this horrible weather, or donate my clothes, than delete an app. It all feels a bit ‘high horse’ to me, and I do wonder how much the people kicking up the biggest fuss really care about ethics when it comes to the other companies they spend money with.
I’m going to finish this off with a quote from Sara Tasker’s post, as I mentioned above, I really do recommend reading her blog post for any areas I might have (definitely) missed!
“Yes, I’d dearly love an ethical, liberal female-led platform to emerge, but until it does, we’ll probably all continue to use what’s available, and learn from their mistakes. Given Zuckerberg and Facebook’s role in the US election, I’m not sure the devil we know is really all that much better.”