Trending

Say hello to Ello

The new social media platform has everyone buzzing. But can we trust it to be different?

Ello. It’s the new social media network that’s been dubbed the anti-Facebook. It has no ads, no third parties purchasing your personal information, and some interesting features you’d only see coming from a social media startup comprised of designers and artists.

But probably the most compelling aspect of Ello is its exclusivist nature; you can’t join without someone inviting you first.

So really, it’s the Internet equivalent to the McRib: if it’s there all the time and anyone can have it whenever they want, then people don’t really want to have it at all. But if you have limited access, well, then, everyone wants to join in!

If you’re like me, Ello has snagged your attention and your — albeit wary — approval.

Because let’s be honest for a second: when most big name social networks like Facebook treat us like marketing meat, our trust is at an all time low. We want an alternative, something less invasive and corporate.

But can Ello be trusted?

At this point Ello is the social media version of John Bender, the rebel character in The Breakfast Club — it’s hard to tell if we should really like it or not. Ello is doing some disruptive, anti-authoritarian social media giant slamming; but we need some time to see how the company chooses to use the attention and influence it’s receiving. And, even though a lot of the critics seem to forget this, it’s still in beta form.

But even so, Ello is still the best crack at crippling Facebook’s online monopoly that we have seen since, well, ever. 

What’s working in Ello’s favour is that it’s the one social network saying what most of us feel and acting on it in interesting, possibly paradigm blitzing ways. Really, they’re trying to tell us that people like Zuckerberg won’t be the king of social forever.

They’ve also declared they will always be ad free and recently opted for Public Benefit Corporation status. This status ensures they’ll always remain as ad free as the day they started inviting people to their minimalist party.

Some people have tried to discredit Ello’s design, some have raised questions about the company receiving $450,000 from a venture capital firm in Vermont. Ello has remained resilient while facing these blasts and has dodged all the critical slugs with its own don’t worry, we’re not terrible, remarks.

Giants like Facebook and Twitter play for keeps, though. They will likely try to crush Ello if they can, either by marginalizing it or buying it out. Let’s hope Ello has some heat and heart of its own when it goes to battle against these guys. Because the radically free, decentralized nature of the Internet demands better.

Ello may be another important step towards delivering on that potential, right alongside developments like TOR and Anonymous.

Whatever moves Ello makes, now is the time when we should be listening and watching. And if we’re bold enough, now is the time where we should be testing it out for ourselves. 

Because if John Bender won us over in the end, let’s hope Ello can do the same.

Photo is a screenshot of Ello.co‘s homepage.

Kona