There have been recent surveys conducted by the likes of BI Intelligence that seem to hint at Facebook’s inevitable demise. Younger users are turning more and more to social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, with Facebook’s demographic gearing towards a 25+ age range. But now, there’s a new social media site on the block calling itself the “Anti Facebook”, that looks set to challenge other platforms for the top spot. It’s called Ello and it’s currently the coolest invite-only club on the World Wide Web. Curious? So were we, which is why we set to work finding out all we could about the internet’s latest hot commodity.
What is it?
Publicly launched in September, Ello bills itself as “a beautiful, simple, and ad-free social network”. Sounds simple enough. Unlike Facebook, Ello is a sleek and minimally designed online platform where people can connect without having to worry about their personal information being sold to third parties nor have to deal with those irritating pop up ads. Co-founder Todd Berger maintains that Ello is and always will remain an “ad-free experience”.
How does it work?
Firstly, you need to request an invitation. Yes, Ello is basically the online version of the It-club with everyone clamouring at the not-so-hidden “hidden door” or the lunch table of nonchalant cool kids in the cafeteria. With over 34,000 invitation requests per hour coming in, Ello is certainly gaining traction, which does mean you could be waiting a while for your request to be approved. Once you’re in however, you’re greeted with their signature minimal and monochromatic design that has drawn some criticisms from fervent social media users. But rest assured, Berger has explained that while the sign up is completely free, Ello intends to offer changeable features that users can buy to further customise their Ello experience. This, of course answers the questions we had about how Ello will make money without ads.
While Ello does use Google Analytics to help improve their service to the user’s experience, Berger reiterates that it will not share personally identifiable information with Google. Instead, the insights they gain is geared towards determining the time users are spending on the site, what other domains are sending people their way and cool content being shared – all gathered to better serve the users. But, if you’re not comfortable with this kind of tracking, there’s an option to turn it off! That’s right, Ello give you, the user, control of your own information and personal data (did you hear that Facebook?).
What does it look like?
In keeping with their cavalier persona, the site is simple and stylistic with black, grey and white designs. Don’t expect all the bells and whistles of other social media platforms just yet as they’re still in “beta operation” and ironing out the kinks as users get to grips with the new network. Ello is visually appealing and can support GIF files (say hi to more procrastinating) but, brace yourself, doesn’t have any “like” buttons. The content you see on your feed is made up of stuff from your own social network of “Friends” and general “Noise” that random people are sharing. So you’ll be able to keep tabs on what your mates have been up to while also surfing for cool trending topics being shared from around the web.
Should I join?
As we mentioned earlier, it’s a bit of a waiting game at the moment from when you send your invitation request. However, we would definitely suggest signing up if you’re looking for a different kind of online network, sick of corporate and ad-heavy social media or if you’re simply curious about the latest online trend.
It’s still early days yet but, after finding out a little more about this uber-cool new site, it’s easy to see how successful it could become. Ello isn’t trying to be another Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, it’s brand-spanking new and seeking to set itself apart as a completely different online experience… no complaints here!
So, if you want to follow Sassy on Ello… tough luck, you can’t, we’re not cool enough to have been approved yet. But, watch this space or sign up now to get your foot in the door and find out what Ello is all about!