Ello is here, and many want to have it, although many do not know what it is about. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is very much the tone of the excitement for many. It has been around for a while. It was created by the entrepreneur Paul Budnitz, and it was used privately as a social network for a year with 100 friends. It had a simple design and was not in the news until just recently.
Ello received some nice comments by the “geek tech” press at the same time as another event that kicked off a large exodus of people from Facebook. That event was Facebook’s “real names” policy enforcement.
There are now many Ello users that have simple usernames due to this type of issue, such as a single letter followed by a number(s). Is Ello a haven for the anonymous as well as design geeks and tech nerds and anything in-between? Or is there more to Ello than just this?
Ello started getting major social momentum around September 23rd 2014 and remained invitation only. Twitter was the medium of choice for requesting invites, typically:
- “Does anyone out there have an #Ello invite for me?”
- “G’bye @facebook , Hello ELLO! Simple, beautiful & ad-free”
- “Is anyone on Ello? The anti Facebook…”
Ello had gone from around 100 mentions a day throughout the summer to 30,000 a day within hours, and would later have estimates of a signup rate of 45,000 an hour.
Is Ello the “anti-Facebook” as regards data privacy?
What choice do we have? Is it not true that any social network that starts off acting like Ello ends up like Facebook or any other successful social network once it has grown to a critical size and needs to fully engage advertisers and the big brand spenders? Have a read of this Newswork.org blog post which further explores the data security and Ello discussion. Or would you choose to be like Jon Swartz and decide to jump off the Ello bandwagon before it really got started?
What is in Ello? What is it like?
Let’s assume that you still want to read some more about Ello? You have not moved on in disgust at the privacy angle and the ad free and simple design is still enough to keep you interested to learn more. Let’s explore what is in Ello!
It is a very simple interface which took me a while to work things out as there are only limited button labels. It has a refreshing feel, as the interface is free of cluster, and yes, no ads.
One of the first things you notice is that you can group people into two categories, “Friends” or “Noise.” Similar to Google+ circles in that people will only know that you are following them and not which category you put them into. I guess these will have extra functionality in due course.
There is no API so you cannot post into it other than being in it, and you cannot easily share outwards as there are no share buttons. However, you can tweet a link or pin images etc.
Here is a pin I made from Ello. Anyone can view it in Pinterest, but following the link takes you to the Ello social network page which shows a credit to the Ello user who posted the image and a navigation menu with buttons to learn more about what Ello is and the “WTF”, which translates in Ello speak to “Help, About and Policies.”
In the settings section you can fill in your bio, username, links (like blogs etc.) and then there are seven slider button choices like “public or private profile” and lastly the account deletion button.
Selecting the “Say Ello” button is the way to make a post. Had to work that one out.
The discover function allows you to find others to follow.
The feature list section is indeed, one to watch. It lists the built and upcoming features. Features that were added recently are highlighted in green. These “features” could be the way that Ello members start to part with their cash when they start to opt for add paid features. For example, Paul Budnitz has said that the ability to control multiple accounts from a single login might be something that Ello might like to charge for when that feature is available. “We might charge a dollar for that. It would be like the App store.”
Ello is new, fresh, and certainly is flavor of the month. I have seen many tweets saying that it will not be around in a month, maybe gone by Christmas. It has had an injection of venture capital and Paul Budnitz insists that “We are building a profitable company, and that is our goal.” Personal accounts will be all the rage for now, but as we saw with Google+ and Facebook, brands will no doubt have their day at some time… but with no ads we assume. Can that work in the long term? The feature list section does show progress. Recently added features include these;
- Views per post.
- Drag users between Friends & Noise.
- In-line Emoji integration
- Option to toggle Google Analytics on/off.
- Among many others.
Still to come features?
- User blocking
- Private accounts
- iOS & Android mobile apps (so just bookmark or add to home screen)
- Many more items.
Luckily I had some very nice agency colleagues in London who invited me and thus I could explore Ello. My own strategy for “yet another social network” is a new strategy. I created for myself a new persona with a new style and a series of post styles very unlike my other personal strategies for Google+ and others. I suggest that if you start as a personal account or brand with any new social network, there has to be a purpose and a differentiation from your strategies with you other networks otherwise you are wasting your time.
For now, I say, “Hello to Ello….”
Let’s see where this one takes us…..
I am a social media strategist, blogger and speaker about social media marketing. This blog is a fun outlet for me to talk about new trends and applications, especially helpful if you are new to Social media. Subscribe and learn about how to use and adopt Social media for Marketing, and keep up with the latest news. I am also the Head of Social Media for Philips Lighting. I am active with strategy development, activation, governance, projects and educational training activities for all aspects of social media within Philips Lighting. I have been working in the digital marketing area since 1997, and previously held roles in engineering, design and sales. In addition to this blog, I tweet daily on two Twitter accounts, have two Facebook pages, Google+, Pinterest, So.cl, Instagram, and participate in many other social networks.
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