Okay, so. We agree the Internet (and social media, specifically) is pretty awful.
Everything is look at me, let me sell you on…, and LOUD. Not to mention addictive—and as previously mentioned—woefully uncool.
Because I do not believe in complaint without action, and I imagine some of you are like me, looking for better ways to be on the web, I’m starting a series about quieter, cooler corners of the Internet.
When I say “cool,” I don’t mean trendy—trends are shoved down our throats every day. I mean “cool” as in authentic and effortless. Places on the web where you can just be. Word to Introverted Mutha.
The year is 2010. Your early-adopter friend just showed you a slick new app on her iPhone 4 where she posts faded, vintage-looking photos of brunch, rooftop parties with red cups, and the sunrise she caught on her morning commute. The best thing about it, she says, is that unlike Facebook, you don’t have to worry about your weird second cousin or that random friend of your mother’s you met twice leaving comments under your photos.
Except, it’s 2022. And we’re talking about VSCO.
You’ve probably heard it in reference to The VSCO Girl, one of many lifestyle movements tracked and analyzed to death by
Millennial social media pundits trying to understand why they suddenly feel so damned old. But reducing VSCO to an aesthetic trend underrates the app’s excellence.
So many people feel they have to present themselves in an aspirational way—”How do I want the world to see me?” On VSCO, it’s “How I see the world.”Joel Flory, VSCO CEO
What It Is
- a community for photographers, people who “make stuff,” and those looking for artistic self-expression
- an editing tool that gives your day-to-day captures a highly-stylized, film-like feel (free accounts come with a limited filter set, for $20/year you get the full filter suite)
- a place to get lost in scenes and perspectives from around the world (80% of its users are outside the U.S.), post your pics, and go
What It Isn’t
- highly addictive or stimulating (you will not get your dopamine fix on VSCO)
- a place to see or be seen—there are no comments, no public “like” or follow counts—though you can share your photos with larger communities via tags
- anything but an app of gorgeous photos—no celebrities, no ads, no hot takes, very few memes
How It Looks
Minimal, clean, sleek.
Why I Love VSCO
- I’m a maker of stuff. I came to social media as a blogger in 2007, so I enjoy apps that encourage creativity more than content for content’s sake.
- Inspiration. My photos get noticeably better when I spend quality time on VSCO.
- Their photo challenges encourage me to engage with and find beauty in my everyday surroundings. Especially when most Internet content is about…the Internet.
- I’ve never seen a single TikTok on my feed.
So, here’s my pitch.
If you want a photo app that’s for photos. A photo app that ain’t…all in the videos…dancin’… COME TO VSCO.