The entire internet (well, the geeky side of it) is buzzing about a new social media platform – Ello, the anti-Facebook social network.
An anti-Facebook sounds interesting (and maybe a little bit cool), but what exactly does that mean? And is it worth your time and effort to start using yet another social network. Remember when we all thought Path was going to be the next big thing? Ha! Exactly.
Here’s a quick guide to Ello.
No Ads and No Data Mining
“Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers,” is how the creators describe the network. When you’re tired of the non-stop ads and weird algorithm of Facebook, an ad-free digital zone seems like a dream.
The company also states that it won’t sell data about you to third parties and calls the collecting and selling of your data, “creepy.” Of course Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networks and services started out ad-free too and now those services are polluted with ads. Ello acknowledges this and says that if they ever do change their no-ads policy they would lose most of the community and notes that it if does, there’s a Delete Account on every user’s page.
But they need to make money, surely?
Ello is free to use and it intends to stay that way. That’s great, but you can’t hire developers and scale user load with unicorns and pixie dust, as much as we’ve tried. So the team says it will be offering “special features” in the future that users can pay for. So it’s more of a freemium model. It’s worked for mobile games so maybe it’ll work for a social network.
So What Can I Do With Ello?
Like every other social network you can post status updates and photos. Unlike Facebook, and like Google+, it supports GIFs. You can also comment on posts and reply directly to your friends and you can also see how many people have viewed a post and edit a post if you missed a typo before pushing it live.
There’s also a Noise section that showcases posts by people you might not know arranged in a loose grid.
To be honest, we’ve seen all this before. In fact, its biggest feature is a social network fresh start and its stripped down timeline. The biggest drawback is that it’s in beta and you can feel it.
There’s a large list of new features being worked on, including support for inline video and audio posts from YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Instagram and Soundcloud. It’s also working on user blocking which is sadly something every social network needs now. It’s also getting inappropriate content flagging, private accounts, reposts with author attribution, a notification center, iOS and Android apps and private messaging.
Should we sign up then?
If you’re comfortable with all the bells and whistles of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and you’re fine with your information being mined for ads, Ello isn’t for you. The platform is also buggy at the moment and prone to errors and downtime. But, if you’re looking for an alternative social network without ads (or you’re concerned about getting your username before anyone else) and you can handle a few rough edges, Ello is off to a good start.
Ello is currently invite only. You can sign up at https://ello.co to be added to the invite list.
Built to Last?
As for longevity, that’s really up to users. App Dot Net, Path, Google+ and others have tried to cut into Facebook’s dominance of the social networking space. None have done much to stop the juggernaut of Likes. Ello probably won’t make much of a dent either. But it could be a nice quiet place to share your thoughts and artsy photos….and cats….always cat photos.
The Ello Manifesto In Full
Your social network is owned by advertisers.
Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.
We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.
We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.
You are not a product.
Source: [Ello.co; Telegraph; TNW; Google+]