In this article you can read the complete review of a new social media called Firework, an app to share 30 secs videos. Find out if it’s worth trying it.
From time to time some new startups try to break the undisputed power of Zuckerberg & co and develop new alternatives to Facebook and Instagram. One of them is Vero True Social an app that meant well but unfortunately didn’t succeed.
Of all the different apps that have emerged in recent years, it took a Chinese company to start bothering Instagram. I’m obviously talking about TikTok. The irony of this story is that China censors ALL Western apps and yet has been able to become successful in the West…
Knowing how difficult it is for an app to succeed, I usually ignore the requests of those who contact me asking me to review the latest copycat of Instagram. And to be honest with you, I completely ignored the first 2 emails that the Firework staff sent me.
This for two reasons: the first is that the app is only for videos and I currently focus mainly on photos (I just started to make some videos) and the second is that the offer seemed too good to be true.
I was offered to become a Brand Ambassador and get paid to upload content to the new platform. So instead of spending time and money getting out shooting something and then giving that material for free, they would pay me to post it. After the third email, I decided to give it a try. After signing the contract and an NDA I started taking some videos and uploading them to my profile (You can see them here.)
But I waited to write this article to see if they actually would keep their promises (if I’d get paid). They did. After trying this social for a couple of months these are my impressions.
Firework: my review
After downloading the app you will be asked to create a new account and select some of the topics that interest you. This choice will affect the type of video you will be shown.
The main sections of the app are:
- the homepage, where you’ll find the videos suggested by the algorithm, according to your interests and their popularity
- the discover page, where you’ll find a series of hashtags with related videos and some recommended Creators to follow
- your profile page, where you’ll find all of your uploaded videos and from where you can also read you direct messages
- the notifications page, where you can see who re-posted your videos and who followed you
- some profiles are also given the possibility to create a private group that can only be accessed by their followers
One of the main features of Firework is that there are no likes nor comments. The only way to interact with other profiles is to re-post their videos and to send direct messages.
In simple terms everything that works to grow followers on other social media, here it doesn’t work. No follow-unfollow nor likes-for-likes. This means however that there is no much pressure to grow your numbers and you can focus more on creating content, which in the end should be the most important thing.
There are only two things that can give you an idea of how popular a video is: the number of views and the number of times it has been shared. The views are visible to everyone while the number of re-posts is visible only to those who uploaded the video (it also sometimes appears on the most popular videos).
From this point of view, Firework seems to follow the example of Instagram that is hiding the total number of likes. The number of followers is visible to everyone.
What is Firework Reveal
The main difference between this app and all the other apps is a proprietary system called Reveal (I wonder when Instagram will steal this idea too). In a nutshell, after uploading the video you can select the Reveal option and it will be possible to watch it both in portrait and landscape mode, “revealing” portions of the screen as you rotate it. Below you can find the official video showing how this system actually works.
The first time I saw how Reveal works I immediately thought it was a really good idea! I’m not a fan of vertical videos and having the ability to upload a single format suitable for both orientations is a really good thing. After trying it for a while though, I have to say that there are some technical limitations.
As you can see from the image above a significant portion of the video is not shown (not in portrait mode nor in landscape mode). Obviously it is possible to compensate for the missing parts by adding a frame to the video but it will be visible when you rotate it.
It’s not the end of the world, and personally I really like this system, but it’s something to keep in mind when editing the video so that important parts (such as text and subtitles) are not too close to the screen or they will not be shown.
How to create videos using the Firework app
With Firework you can either upload videos created with other software (the maximum resolution is 1920×1080) or simply use the app pretty much as you’d do with TikTok.
There are many neat options to edit the video and over time I’m sure that even more will be added. They are all intuitive and it won’t take long to learn how to use them especially if you’re familiar with TikTok.
Firework + Gemi app
Gemi is an app that allows you to record videos using the front and the back cameras at the same time thus allowing you to tell both sides of the story. Currently is only available for iOS (but not for all iPhones models). The videos can then be uploaded on Firework.
Firework vs TikTok
It’s undeniable that the two apps are very similar. Both offer the possibility of creating rather advanced videos directly within the app. The main differences are the Reveal function, the average age of those using the app (more teenagers on TikTok while Firework tries to attract a slightly more mature audience), and the lack of comments and likes on Fireworks. The maximum length of videos for Firework at the moment is 30 seconds.
Is it worth using Firework? To be honest there are things that I like and things that I don’t but all in all it’s a nice app to use. It seems that even Google is interested in acquiring Firework to be able to compete with TikTok. I asked Firework to comment about this but they didn’t.
- I really like the Reveal function
- There are no “vanity metrics” such as comments and likes
- I also like the possibility of becoming Brand Ambassadors and get paid to upload content (exactly how much you’ll be paid depends from many factors and can range from a few $ to tens of thousands of $)
- Each Brand Ambassador has access to a private forum where he can get in touch with other “colleagues”. He will be also assigned a person from the company to help him post better content. It’s even possible to schedule a video call (try that with any other social network). Clearly, to access these “benefits” you must first be approved as Ambassador.
- There is no way to interact with other accounts except by re-posting their videos or sending DM
- The number of views and re-posts may “explode” shortly after uploading the video or weeks later. However, there is not much correlation between the number of followers and views. Some of my videos have very few views, others have thousands and the same thing happens to profiles with thousands of followers
- The Discover section could be improved
Here you can download the app. After creating your account you can contact the support and ask to become a Brand Ambassador (provided that you already have a good follower base on other platforms) and finally start getting paid to upload videos on a social network.
If you like the idea of selling pictures and videos online don’t miss this article where I explain how to do it.