By Carolyn Bossmann
‘Anti-Facebook’ platform Ello promises privacy for its users and refuses ads
A new social media platform is bringing hope to everyone who believes Facebook is the social networking final frontier.This new website, Ello, is being hailed as the “anti-Facebook” by technology pundits, due to the founders’ promise that it will never sell users’ data to third parties, nor will it use ads on its website … ever.
Ello is currently in beta testing, which means anyone who wants to join has to be invited. With over 1 million people on the waiting list for an invite, according to recode. net, it is clear that Ello has made an impression on the average social networker.
The founders of Ello launched their website with a manifesto that ended with a very clear message of what they wanted in their website design: A social network is “not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate but a tool to connect, create, and celebrate life. You are not a product.”
With so many users flocking to Ello, I decided to figure out what all the fuss was about. After I signed up, it took about two and a half months to get an invite. Honestly, by the time I got the email, I had completely forgotten I was waiting for the invite in the first place.
Ello’s layout is incredibly simplistic, which is one of its many saving graces. The creators took out all of the fuss and fancy of Facebook and instead made a more interactive social network.
Users share their thoughts and comment. There’s no more “liking” and doing the bare minimum to stay friends with your friends. The majority of the Ello population, the active ones, are the creative-minded. Most users are photographers, artists, writers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, digital graphic designers and more.
The minimalist layout provides the perfect place to display their work to the public without a contrasting ad on the sidebar that their work has to compete with. Ello understands that sometimes you have to be friends with people on social media. Sometimes you do not care at all about what that person is up to.
Therefore, Ello creators mastered the art of categorizing people into how users want to see updates, without others knowing that those updates have been moved to the “Noise” folder, while the people you actually care about are in the “Friends” folder. All they know is you are following them, and that’s really all they need to know. Companies have been looking into Ello, but with a new twist; they cannot purchase ads.
Brands and companies are more than welcome to join Ello, but they can only make a general profile, just like the rest of the users. It’s a new way for companies to interact with their customers. In an interview with fashionista.com, Greg Foley, the creative director and designer for V, VMan, VFiles and Visionaire, said, “If [brands are] not doing something that’s a really nice creative expression, I don’t think anyone’s going to be interested in engaging with that account.” Brands are now eyeing the layout of Ello to highlight products with photography, where items will be on a more realistic display without the usual pomp and circumstance presented in an ad.
While Ello is much different from Facebook, it is not entirely truthful to proclaim it the “anti-Facebook.” It clearly has Facebook’s foundation and includes many aspects that are heavily influenced by Facebook. However, it is a social networking site that is working in the right direction, a place where users can feel less like a statistic of clicks on a page and more like the actual human beings they are.