More and more people are telling me that Facebook, Insta and Twitter are ‘a necessary evil’ that they put up with as a way to stay connected to friends, share their creative work or promote their business. And now, following the release of the Social Dilemma, people are recognising the darker side of the algorithms used by those sites.
Of course many people love social media sites as a way of staying connected to friends (which was the original benefit), and stalking celebrities, (which has probably over-taken that original intention!). Still, many of those same people worry that they spend too much time scrolling through seemingly endless content (that isn’t necessarily from pages they follow), projecting the perfect Insta life, or the significant anger that seems to surround so many tweets.
After watching the Social Dilemma documentary, it seems that a lot of people are quickly wanting to do something to change their normal habit – the most common response to be, to delete Facebook. But people also recognise that it’s hard to ‘quit’ social media completely because it’s so engrained in our everyday life.
Perhaps, there are other ways?
1. Accept social media for what it is, but use it with our eyes open
We can weigh up the pros and cons and decide to continue. Perhaps recognise that the algorithms are designed to keep us online and so it’s easy to be come addicted, and limit usage to whatever you think is acceptable for you.
We can be aware that those same algorithms are choosing what content we see, and seek out other points of view – consciously look to balance what we read and watch so that we’re not always reaffirming one side of any story, by searching for and clicking on opposing content from the same sites. Oh and, actually read longer articles instead of just believing click bait headlines!
2. Choose other social sites and search engines – they do already exist.
Of course other platforms do exist but the sheer scale of the big names makes it hard for others to get noticed and build a big enough customer base to make it feel like a viable option. And yet, if the demand is there, could now be the time for more socially responsible options to break through? Could there even be options that we would be less worried about letting our kids sign up to?
I’d like to offer a personal preference – I’ve been using Vero ‘true social’ for a couple of years. It doesn’t use algorithms or adverts at all so you only see what you choose to follow. I absolutely love it and highly recommend you give it a try. So much so that I’ve quit all other social media sites now.
And yet for some reason Vero just felt right to me, and I stuck with it beyond the temporary tech glitches, and I’ve been recommending it ever since.
It’s worth saying that I have no commercial investment or reason to promote Vero other than I just really like it – this is a genuine recommendation.
If you haven’t the foggiest what I’m talking about, here’s the low down on what Vero is, and why I like it so much.
- Vero is advertised as True Social – ‘Less social media, more social life‘. It’s quite simply people and businesses sharing content that they think will be interesting to others, inviting comments and discussion.
- You can post a photo just like Insta, or share a link just like Facebook, or recommend music, a book, a film or TV show, or a place.
- Each of these different types of post becomes a ‘collection’ and people can see, for example, a collection of books that their friends have recommended, or how many of the people they follow have shared a particular film. If you click on the film or book image someone has shared, you can read a synopsis or watch a trailer. I love that part! It’s constant reviews from people I trust, or people who I have found on there who can bring me new ideas.
- There are no adverts or ‘suggested posts’ or ‘your friend likes this’. I only see posts from the people I choose to connect with – and they are in date order, not re-shown to me over and over because someone else has commented for the 20th frigging time!
- On a similar point, there are no algorithms deciding who sees what. So if you run a page and someone follows you they will see everything you post in their feed. Everything! In date order.
- Vero is full of creative types, so if you like photography or art or films there are plenty of people to follow who share great content regularly. You can ‘introduce’ people to others and see who they recommend.
- Privacy options are much better – you can both Connect with people you know (like friends on Facebook) and / or Follow people (like on Twitter). So when you post you can choose if you want to share each item with everyone who follows you or just a group of friends you are connected to, really easily.
- There are celebrities and some big name companies including the Madonna, British GQ and most popular of all, Zack Snyder – director of many famous films – he has a very loyal fan base! But the majority of people on Vero are just normal, incredibly positive and supportive – unbothered about numbers of followers, and just genuinely interested in sharing content with people – it’s a community feel.
The only thing that’s missing is more users. Vero is still in the millions, rather than the big platforms billions. When I first joined, I didn’t immediately have an instant feed of people I knew – and that’s where some people get stuck. But if like me, you brings. Group of friends with you, or have a look around and find new people with similar interests, you just might really enjoy Vero, as much as I do.
So if you fancy giving something new a try, and to ditch the algorithms, #joinmeonVero and say hello. And let me know you read this post, so I can follow you too.
You might also like this New York Times article about Big Tech (spoiler alert, this writer also endorses Vero)
#socialmedia #Vero #verotruesocial