What is Ello?


There have been many supposed ‘Facebook-killer’ social networks released, but none have really scratched the surface – indeed, I am inclined to agree with the thinking that the only social network that can ‘kill’ Facebook is Facebook itself.

The issue with these new social networks is that they have had a proposition too close to an existing social network, or they have not been able to get to the tipping point / critical mass of massive demand – after all, if your friends were not on Facebook, would you bother?

Ello is a new network that promises to be different.  Here is their manifesto:

“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.”

Ello is advert-free, as you may have guessed from the above, is invite only and openly anti-Facebook.

At Facebook, you need to use your legal name, causing a storm with drag performers and LGBT activists earlier this month, but on Ello you choose the name that you want.
On Ello, you are able to post status updates, including rich media, and comment on friends’ posts, pretty similar to Twitter or Tumblr.  However, many tech writers have said that once on the network it is a bit buggy, which I guess is forgivable with a Beta version of the network.

So, do people want to be part of this new network?  Hell yes!  Ello is receiving anything up to 30,000 requests per hour, which will be a good test of the site’s infrastructure.  So, does this mean that we have met the network who will be the next big thing?

I think that Ello has done a great job of attracting people to the network – the numbers back this up and their proposition is sufficiently different to existing networks, which are under increasing pressure to monetise and keep their shareholders and advertising clients happy.

Where I think the challenge is for Ello is the degree of interaction – getting people to sign up to a network is the easy, well easier, part, but getting them to interact on the network is another thing entirely.  Networks of any description, social or real world, live and die by their level of interaction.

Another potentially interesting moment will be if the major social networks will change the way that they operate given the number of people who have expressed an interest in not being a product.

Interesting times ahead…..

Image via kaltblut-magazine.com

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