For better and likely worse, I’m a social media addict. If my phone’s within reach I have to fight the urge to check my phone while waiting in line. Instagram and Twitter are my apps of choice, they’re great for keeping up with what designers and illustrators are doing as well as the news. So when I saw an abundance of accounts saying to follow them on “Vero,” I was intrigued. It’s free and another way to get your brand out there, so why not.

What’s the Vero app got that the social giants don’t?

It’s new and shiny for one, and in an age where “traditional” social media has been deemed responsible for a myriad of terrible things, people who like to connect online are aching for a platform that’s friendly, safe, and doesn’t feel like being hit with a train of negative news.

That’s how Vero is positioning itself, as “true social.” That translates to no ads or algorithm, yet. It functions a lot like Instagram in that you post, comment, and like content. You can also save relevant posts similar to the original Pinterest concept that is now available as “collections” in Instagram. Also notable—there doesn’t seem to be a function that shares an impermanent image or video that disappears after a few hours, the chief appeal of Snapchat that Instagram and Facebook soon adopted.

Something unique to Vero is it asks you to qualify your relationships. You have to decide whether someone is a “Close Friend,” “Friend,” or an “Acquaintance.” This may serve a purpose in determining how Vero feeds you content, but at the moment it seems a little unnecessary. If I didn’t want to see what you post I wouldn’t follow you.

Needless to say, my interest was piqued so I took a peak under the hood.

 

As anticipated, it looks…fine. Vero really wants to look cool with a dark background, a fun pop of color and super thin type, legibility be damned. The introduction and sign up process is a little drawn out given most apps are built to be intuitive. How it works should mostly make sense without explanation. Given they’re not doing anything groundbreaking, (a chat function, how novel), the process to get set up was like a handshake that lasted a little too long.

Moments after putting in a profile image and a bio, I’m greeted with a message that will haunt me several times before I close the app.

Next, they REALLY want you to post. Never mind if you have no friends to like your content, go ahead, post it. You’re worth it. I uploaded an image that went to digital purgatory since the servers were so jammed, I was given the choice of deleting the post or “retry”ing for the rest of eternity.

Out of frustration I tried to follow a random brand just to get any kind of sense of how the app worked and was rebuffed once again. The button “clicked” but remained unselected. Unable to actually do anything, I closed the app.

While only the first million subscriptions are free, I wouldn’t rush to download Vero quite yet. Give them some time to work out the kinks and capacity after the sudden influx of users has stabilized.

Does Vero have what it takes to last? Only time will tell. The list of exciting new apps that quickly fizzled out is long: Peach, Mastadon, Ello, Meerkat, I could go on. The main draw for Vero is it currently features a chronological timeline, something Twitter and Instagram dropped to serve their own interests. With the new Instagram algorithm, users have to post three times as frequently to get the same amount of interaction which is absurd for those who generate income from posting to Instagram.

Vero has a long way to go before it’s an essential app, but if they choose to actually listen to their users they certainly stand a chance.