Hello Ello, the Latest Social Network to Challenge Facebook, Twitter

Hello Ello, the Latest Social Network to Challenge Facebook, Twitter

Ello Post GIF 310x

Ello is simple, unfinished, definitely in beta, and wants to be Bizarro Facebook.

If you exist on any level in the GIF-laden Twitterverse, you might have heard about Ello in one way or another over the past week.

Ello is a new social networking service that first popped up in the spring, but didn't garner widespread attention until this month (really only in the last week or two). Its purpose, at least at the moment, is to offer an ad-free alternative to Facebook and Twitter, as it attempts to combine features that draw people to both of those established services.

Despite the chatter (and my headline), Ello strikes me as more of a competitor to Twitter than to Facebook. The friends relationship is one-way, like on Twitter -- you can follow someone, but they don't have to follow you back -- and everything is public, although privacy controls are coming soon. The site's most compelling feature is how it separates the wheat from the chaff. If you want a steady stream of updates on specific people, you add them as friends, while everyone else can be added to the Noise category. Noise breaks down posts from everyone into a bite-size grid, and it's separate from the feed populated by friends, and your own posts.

Ello also tracks how many people have seen your posts (which are editable, by the by), dumping the info next to the comments section beneath a post. If Ello survives beta and goes mainstream, public tracking of how your posts are viewed could become a powerful tool, especially since it's not hidden in some analytics tool somewhere, or governed by likes, favorites, or reposts.

Oh, but the most important feature? Posting GIFs. It's basically all I do on Ello (see: David Lee Roth up top).

Twitter is still finding itself, with promoted posts and a new analytics tool, and Facebook is dealing with a slew of its own problems. From stripping out the Messenger function into its own app, to drawing the ire of the LGBTQ communities, to the videos that automagically play as you scroll by, Facebook is a platform that, even ten years later, is still experiencing growing pains. So if there's a time for a new social network to carve out its own niche, this is probably it.

But what is the endgame here? It's a silly question to ask after only two days of use (for me, anyway), but that seems to be all anyone is talking about. In an interview with Engadget, Ello's founders and their venture capitalist backers aren't crazy about embracing the advertising model, nor do they plan on mining user data anytime soon. Ello does use a version of Google Analytics to track specific user behaviors, but the version of the tool they use anonymizes user IPs. Because of the anonymity, Ello claims the data gathered can help make a better site/product, while making the data useless to anyone interested in advertising.

While potential buyers could change the rules, the revenue model appears to be based on enhanced features, similar to LinkedIn. Engadget's example -- paying money to manage multiple accounts through one login -- would generate cash while keeping advertising away from user's eyes.

There's a lot to uncover with Ello. They champion privacy, but still use cookies for specific tasks. They are shunning advertising, but who knows if users will pay for premium features. And they preach an open, simple interface...that isn't quite done yet. If you enjoy drilling down into a beta, try to secure yourself an invite. Otherwise, it might be best to stay away until some additional features (private messaging, blocking, mobile apps/tweaking) are fleshed out.

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I still find VK.com (Russian facebook) to be the best social network for me. Having the news stream split into tabs helps me to ignore 90% of the garbage I have to put up with on FB. Also, being able to watch streaming movies and music also helps.

I'm getting sick of seeing the feeds of friends of friends on FB. Why on earth would I care about somebody I don't even know tagging a friend in something. Sadly, most of my friends still use FB, otherwise I'd have dropped it ages ago.

This new Ello thing hasn't really grabbed my attention. But then, I never really got into Twitter. I don't care what people had for lunch, I care even less that they want to tell me and I also have nothing of major interest to inflict upon the world.

I'm finding it really hard to believe that they're not going to have advertising at some point, because the money has to come from somewhere...

I like it so far, been on for a couple days. Assuming enough people adopt it, it'll make a nice medium between twitter and facebook, with a touch of Tumblr. Which is exactly what I want from a social media platform. But really I can't stand Facebook, and the way it decides for me what posts from my friends/readers I want to see, instead of letting me make that decision myself.

weirdee:
I'm finding it really hard to believe that they're not going to have advertising at some point, because the money has to come from somewhere...

The article here doesn't do a good job of describing their plans.

They say their plans for the future are to add more site features on a freemium model. They say they're basing it off good F2P video games, where certain optional features added in the future will be pay-only. That and donations.

The F2P model can be pretty awful, but then there's Arenanet doing GW2 in a way that really pleases me. So depends on how it goes.

Do we really need more social networks?

I mean the point of a social network is to bring everyone together, so having more of them defeats the purpose, doesn't it? Kindof just feels like a waste of time, effort, and money for everyone.

A business strategy that is being ad free!? In the era where programs like Ad-Block exist I doubt that people have any need of a service that is add free as default.

Uhhh I'd suggest people avoid this for now there were reports of certain rather popular and slightly controversial hashtags being labeled "Hate Speech" and earning instabans on their service. A good example is #GamerGate. (Yes someone got banned from the service just for a message containing that, I don't think it matters what your stance or non stance on this is but banning people for a hashtag seems... wrong)

vallorn:
Uhhh I'd suggest people avoid this for now there were reports of certain rather popular and slightly controversial hashtags being labeled "Hate Speech" and earning instabans on their service. A good example is #GamerGate. (Yes someone got banned from the service just for a message containing that, I don't think it matters what your stance or non stance on this is but banning people for a hashtag seems... wrong)

Yeah... things like that would kill it for me, if true. Blatant harassment and overt hostility are one thing, but the mere act of talking about a controversial subject should never result in bans and the like, regardless of the stance that they take.

Then again, I don't use social media much outside of the Escapist forums. Still, I'm too much of a free-speech advocate to get behind shenanigans like that. After all, that exact same shutdown of the discussion is what made GG such a shitstorm to begin with.

Captcha: "knock back"

Oh good, another site for That One Friend (you know the one) to jump onto and be impossible to contact with by other means.

I drew the line in the sand with twitter, I'm not going to give in to this new kid on the block either.
Seriously, screw you Jeremy. "It's better to get a hold of me on twitter..." *grumble grumble*

Redlin5:
Oh good, another site for That One Friend (you know the one) to jump onto and be impossible to contact with by other means.

I drew the line in the sand with twitter, I'm not going to give in to this new kid on the block either.
Seriously, screw you Jeremy. "It's better to get a hold of me on twitter..." *grumble grumble*

You know what I say to all the Jeremys of the world? "What's your email address?"

I got in but it's kind of crap right now. I only have myself and a bunch of other ravers though lol.

I always wonder about these things. If you read these forums you'd think there was a huge market for services that focus on 'privacy' (whatever that means on the internet) yet nothing ever comes of it.

 

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