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Joel Flory & Greg Lutze

Founders, VSCO

Is anyone else experiencing social media fatigue? Sure, I still check Adriana Lima’s Instagram daily. But the pressure to post double tap-worthy pics of my own? It’s stressful, sometimes preventing me from posting at all. Greg Lutze (left) and Joel Flory became aware of this trend after creating their popular photo editing app, VSCO.

As artists, the pair worried such data-chasing would hinder creativity and encourage “low hanging posts,” like food porn. And as humans, they feared it might lead to judgement and even bullying. That’s why they decided to create their own platform without comments or likes — the world’s first metric-free social, where a user’s value lies in more than a digit.

The world's first metric-free social — no comments or likes.

Joel Flory & Greg Lutze - Founders of VSCO

SOCIAL CAN BE OVERWHELMING, with the need for validation outweighing the need to be creative or true. Like most people, I post whatever presents my most glamorous self — ignoring the fact that most of my life is spent in sweatpants.

“Often times, people feel this insane pressure on social media to get likes,” Lutze explains. “It’s really stressful. Users become afraid to be honest — afraid to try new things or to document the sad and silly moments of life.”

This trend is especially concerning when it comes to teens, the advertiser-coveted demographic prone to not only social media obsession, but also to bullying, depression and self-consciousness.

“People are burning out [on social media] when they’re only 13 or 14-years-old,” Flory adds. “They’re tired of deleting pictures that don’t get enough likes in five minutes… tired of worrying about followers. Young people in particular need a place where they can be without judgement.

This pressure impacts everyone from artists to teens to corporations, creating a society in which a person’s worth is measured in followers.

THE ISSUE: SOCIAL MEDIA IS HELLA STRESSFUL

Joel Flory & Greg Lutze - Founders of VSCO
“People are burning out [on social media] when they're only 13 or 14-years-old.”

Flory and Lutze launched their own platform in 2014. It’s most notable factor? A visible lack of metrics, meaning no comments or likes. (Users can see followers’ names, but no numeric count.)

Disruption‘s creative director —influencer, Dave Krugman — is a fan of this disruptive model.

“I love Instagram, but I often post just to post,” he explains. “I know that every picture begets more followers… But, man, all that data chasing ruins the fun. VSCO is where I can be truly creative.”

And in that way, VSCO’s platform sets users free.

“Other people can see what you post,” Flory adds. “But they can’t like or comment; they can only collect your work as a fan. Our hope is that this will eliminate pressure, inspiring creativity and excitement to post in a judgement-free zone.

What’s more? VSCO deters folks from posting what gets likes. (I see you, cat memes.) It’s no wonder they have 30MM active monthly users and counting.

 

The Solution: A Platform Free of Metrics

Joel Flory & Greg Lutze - Founders of VSCO

“Sign up for VSCO!” Lutze laughs. “But seriously, what you can do is be yourself — post without fear of judgment.”

Protip: you can also refrain from comparing them to Instagram.

“Instagram is a great advertising platform,” Flory continues. “But our businesses have different intentions. Our intention for VSCO is to enable people to create, discover and connect through images and words. And yes, brands can be a part of that — but not through a traditional ad model. We commission our community to create quality branded content… and not just people with the biggest followings. It’s a win-win.”

Mission accomplished, boys. Visit VSCO to experience the disruption.

SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Instagram has always focused on building an amazing communication platform — an advertising platform.”

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