VSCO is one of the best photography apps around, but it's still just a photography app — for most people, useful mainly for its filters. The company behind VSCO wants to move beyond this, and its latest effort is VSCO Originals: editorial content that lives only on VSCO. The content covers photography, illustration, and writing, and is divided into eight "journals" that users can follow, including the likes of Cyclopedia ("discovering and learning science, history, and culture through visually experimental presentations") and Venue ("documenting and exposing vital new music through video and imagery").
Welcome to the platisher party
As you'd expect for an company with VSCO's design and art chops, the standard of curation on the journals is high: they look gorgeous and highlight interesting stories and individuals. The move is reminiscent of Medium's use of original editorial content. It should attract attention to the app, and raises the company from being just a platform for other peoples' pictures to a publisher in its own right — taking on that dreadful mantle of "platisher."
But while VSCO Originals is a good showcase for the app, and could be a draw in its own right, the content is perhaps a little too well cultivated for popular appeal. This recent Cyclopedia entry on lifespans, for example, is a great illustrated timeline of how long things last — from a flash of lightning (0.0002 seconds) to a single light particle (1 quintillion years) — but it's not exactly shareable content. After all, VSCO has 30 million users (compared to Instagram's 400 million), and the main way to go beyond being "just" a photography app is to grow and grow and grow.