So, by now, you’ve probably heard of Ello. Ello, which I’m guessing is “hello” without the h, is a new, privacy-focused social network. Specifically, Ello has picked up traction recently because of Facebook’s real name policy and the fact that commercial social networks such as Twitter and Facebook sell out your information in order to display advertising to you. Ello, has promised to both be anonymous and ad-free. It’s still in a beta period, and the overwhelming interest means that signing up for Ello requires getting on a wait list and then being patient.
Check out my review of Credit Karma.
Get On Ello Now
My plan was to get on Ello right away by finding someone that I knew who was already on it. On the way to finding that someone, instead, I read about how the invites work and was able to sort of bust my way in by switching around some of the commonly used words in the Ello invite codes. So, yea!
Just like Google+ before it, the problem with starting a new social network is that not only is that company starting a new social network, but so are you. I have to find friends and follow them. They have to find me and follow me. I have to decide what, and how, I want to post on Ello. For now, I kind of have a division where Facebook is mostly personal, with real life friends and family. Twitter is more online friends and people I follow, who don’t know me, because they are interesting. Google+ is where I post stuff and then +1 it so that Google will find it and rank it, and also for Ingress. I really have no idea where Ello fits into that dynamic.
Follow me on Ello here: @arcticllama
If you prefer, I’m still on all the “main” social networks too, usually as ArcticLlama. I’m theArcticLlama on Instagram though. Someone beat me to it, which is actually why on wanted to get on Ello right away, to reserve the name, just in case.
Ello Interface – Basic and Ad Free
Once you get used to a minimal interface, it can be a powerful and freeing existence. Until then, I don’t know what the smiley faces things are for, how I find new people to follow, how I follow people I already know, and so on. Frankly, I just wanted to reserve my username, so I don’t want to put too much effort into it. Fortunately, since the Ello fad is big right now, I’m sure the usual tech news/blog sites will have plenty of How-To guides.
In the end, I’m not really sure there is much future here. The last network to gain traction because people were mad at Facebook was App.net. I don’t even know if it is still running. App.net also was privacy focused, and against ads. Of course, someone has to pay for the servers and electricity, so App.net charged a monthly fee. That kept it from ever getting big.
Ello, is not charging a monthly fee. Instead, it took some venture capital money to pay the bills. Unlike some others, I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, but sooner or later, they’ll need more money. If people wouldn’t pay a modest $5 or $10 per month for App.net, I’m not sure how many people will pay for premium features either, especially since everything really necessary has to be free, or people won’t use Ello at all. The people willing to pay for premium features are usually companies who want to reach users about their products, but if this is a really an all-privacy, no ads network, then I’m not sure how much those premium features will be worth.
So, maybe I just signed up not for a Facebook alternative, but for a App.net alternative.