If you’re a regular user of social media channels Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, you’ve probably found yourself at wits end with the number of ads you’re exposed to on a daily basis. When users first signed up to these networks, the volume of ads was low enough to go almost unnoticed, and the channels were not only purely built for social networking with friends and family – they were used for just that too. But a lot has changed since then, and the way in which these channels make profit is at the dispense of the user’s experience.

Introducing Vero.

Vero comes into the social playing field from a new angle – with a refreshing sense of honesty. The network aims to get back to basics with the way people are using social networking sites, and it does this by promising to be ad-free and algorithm-averse (welcome back chronological timeline).

The company even includes in their T&Cs, manifesto and business model (which are all easily accessible through the app and website) that there is NO data mining. A breath of fresh air when you compare it to your ‘always listening, always learning’ networks, Facebook and Instagram. The transparency and ease in which you can find the Vero Manifesto and Privacy Policy is also great, and the language used is really easy to understand. We definitely recommend checking them out if you’re concerned about your data and where it goes.

The app’s been gaining more and more traction and hype on other social media platforms over the past few days, even though it’s been around for quite some time now; mainly because of how frustrated people are becoming with the algorithmic changes Instagram, Vero’s biggest competitor, has implemented.

Over the last year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for your content to be seen among the big-paying brands and bloggers who gain first place on timelines, over Instagram users with small followings and no paid advertising budgets. But not only that, users are getting tired of seeing this type of content on their feeds – they miss seeing their friends, or smaller ‘low-key’ blogger, brand and influencer content, because of how and when content is now displayed.

The thought of having to fall in love with another social media site is pretty daunting for most. The effort of building a new following, moving your digital assets, creating another online presence and all-in-all, just having to get used to a new interface is a lot to commit to, but Vero is trying do to things a little differently – and it has the potential to win your heart.

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The good the bad and the ugly.

Vero is said to be a ‘relationship first network, aiming to align physical world relationships to online experience’, and offers a unique multi-media sharing feature that tops that of Instagram’s. Instead of just ‘status updates’, you must also share either videos, movies, TV, books, places, photos and links within your post. And not only that, who you share your content with is completely up to you.

The four-tiered approach allows you to decide whether a piece of content goes to close friends, friends, acquaintances or followers – and that info is private to you. So fear not, Kev the Postman who likes to chat for hours on end when you need to leave for work, won’t find out he’s ONLY made it onto your acquaintance list.

This feature also means that you can filter exactly what you see from friends. For example, if you’re getting tired of seeing the same bad film recommendations from someone you follow, you can turn that off to enhance your experience of the social network without harming your relationships with these people. On the other hand, the feature comes in really handy if you’d like to find a specific pop culture film category you’ve become increasingly interested in. All you have to do is search your Collections to see everything everyone you know or follow has posted about a particular new film.

But is this type of refined content all positive? The options for audience selection are interesting, especially when trying to be a bit more conscious of unflooding your social channels. But having the filter applicable to both who you broadcast to and what you receive (i.e. filtering all but movie recommendations from one account) can be perceived as slightly unnatural. It’s great to have that option, but this level of ‘fine-tuning’ your friends doesn’t feel particularly friendly. When Vero claims to be the ‘True Social Media Network’, filtering what you see means you’re not really seeing a ‘true’ reflection of the people you choose to follow.

That’s not to say it’s all negative. With these options comes a wealth of positives. There are none of the viral content reshares that plague Facebook, minimal angry trolling that haunts Twitter, and more versatility than what Instagram can offer. There are also some fantastic features that Vero has taken from what works well on other channels, such as a very image-focused feed, the option to make recommendations, create reviews and sell via links (which Vero will take a small portion of so they can offset the lack of ads), in-built messaging and its reassuringly familiar interface.

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How to start sharing.

As soon as you’ve downloaded the app, set up your account, connected with your friends and followed any other influencers or celebrities that take your fancy, it’s time to get sharing.

It does take a little more thought than simply posting any old random picture or piece of text. The first thing you’ll need to do is select an appropriate Collection for your post depending on what type of content it is that you’d like to share. For example, is it a picture? Are you recommending a band? Are you visiting a place or sharing a link?

Because Vero doesn’t allow for basic ‘status updates’, you need to associate your post with something that can be translated visually. You also can’t create live feeds like you can in Instagram or Snapchat, Vero is more focused on building a collection of content that can be shared and revisited.

Once you’ve drafted your post, you then select which circle of friends you’d like to share it with. Selecting an icon will show you which of your Connections will see the post in their feed. If you’d like it to be public, select the Followers icon and it will be available for everyone. Press share, and you’re away!

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So the big question, do you try it out?

Well our answer is yes. At the moment it’s free, and if you don’t get on with it in the long run, you’re not tied into any contract. Soon, the app will cost a few quid to sign up to, so while it’s free (be quick it’s only the first 1 million subscribers), there’s nothing to lose. It’s still to gain a wide user base to become a go-to platform for users, and this will take a little while, but it’s certainly one to keep an eye on for sure.

Three reasons to join Vero:
• There are no ads, and there never will be
• Chronological timeline with multimedia content
• A space to be yourself without the worry of your data being stolen

In a nutshell, if you’re tired of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram deciding what you see on your feed and when, and you want a more tailored social networking experience, then you should definitely give Vero a go.

For more info, check out their website here.

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