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The Perks of VSCO: A Social Media Platform Without Pressure

VSCO was founded in 2011 by Joel Flory and Greg Lutze. “Its original purpose was solely photo editing, but it grew into a realm of its own where users can share photos.” What makes this app different from the rest is that its users can not see how many followers or likes other users get. It completely diminishes the competition/popularity aspect of social media that Instagram is notorious for. No more worrying about how many followers you have compared to your friends or how many likes your new selfie got. No more comments either.

CO-founder of the app, Greg Lutze believes that “it’s important that there isn’t a kind of self-imposed social pressure. It makes people more “unafraid to take risks” with the photos they share.” The open and friendly environment this social media platform holds is specifically just what young girls want. Co-founder Joel Florey says that VSCO’s user base is almost entirely 13 to 24-year-old females.

Because of its features, VSCO is a”safe space” for many young girls where they can post photos of themselves they normally wouldn’t put anywhere else

“We don’t want this to be a social game,”. “We want it to be a true interaction. There’s not this posturing or fake life that I have to present in order to get followers.”

VSCO has become infamous as a community for teenage girls. Many users are familiar with the phrase “VSCO is for the girls”, a play on words of “Saturdays are for the boys”. The social media platform has sort of been self-proclaimed by this demographic. Girls seem to be tired of the comparison and vanity involved with traditional social media, often reflected with public likes and followers. So, they go to VSCO – a safe-haven for creativity and self-expression.

The open and worry-free environment on VSCO has sparked some debate. With no way of commenting or liking, VSCO seems to be the go-to platform for posting “risky pictures” that wouldn’t fly (socially) on a different social media. High school student Emma Charles brought this to light in her article for her school paper- “The company and its users encourage expression in all of its forms. But it’s a constant debate where the line should be drawn between expressing yourself and asking for too much attention—if you know what I mean.”

It doesn’t take a genius to understand how wrong it is to shame girls for how they dress or what they want to post pictures in. However, Emma Charles does bring up a good point: The content people put on VSCO is not any “safer” there than anywhere else. What people put online is there forever and for everyone to see, no matter what social media platform it is on.

Is VSCO a healthy alternative to traditional social media platforms? Well for one, it definitely could help ease the abundance of young girls with body image issues. 53% of 13-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time girls reach 17.  This spike in body image issues relates almost entirely to social media. Research shows that there is a link between spending more time on social media platforms or engaging with more appearance-related content (e.g., images) on social media and greater body image concerns and disordered eating among young men and women. If more people used media platforms like VSCO that focus less on comparison and more on what people are passionate about, it could help boost the self-esteem of demographics like young girls.

Image: Seth Doyle on Unsplash

 

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