Ello: Is it the new Social Media Phenomenon that will replace Facebook?

September 29, 2014

This past Saturday morning started out just like any other. With coffee in hand, I popped open my laptop eager to enjoy a relaxing morning of slowly waking up while checking my Facebook (doesn’t everyone do this nowadays?). As I slowly scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed however, I noticed that something was different. One word, Ello, kept appearing over and over again. At first, I skimmed over my friends Ello posts but as I continued scrolling, I just kept seeing more and more about Ello. I quite simply had to know more. What were all my friends talking about? What is this Ello that seems to have hijacked my newsfeed?

Ello is a new social media website that was started by a small group of designers and programmers. It is a simple and clean social networking site without ads. Founder Paul Budnitz and some of his pals were sick of how advertisers ran Facebook. They didn’t like how many ads were on Facebook and they didn’t like how Facebook tracked their personal information only to sell it to advertisers. So, what did they do? They started their own, ad-free social networking site that wasn’t owned by advertisers and they called it Ello.

Ello's manifesto

Ello started out as a small website between friends. This past week however, Ello was propelled onto the social media center stage, as it became the face of an anti-facebook movement. In the beginning of September, a few drag performers from San Francisco were unhappy with Facebook’s policy that every registered Facebook user must use their ‘real names’. They were outraged by this policy and felt that it was in violation to their rights, freedoms and even their safety. As an act of protest, they signed up to Ello and quickly spread the word.

Ello's profile page design Ello's profile page design

So of course, after finishing my morning coffee, I headed over to the Ello site to check it out.  It is a site created by designers so I had high expectations. The simple black and white layout is pleasing, attractive and non-offending. I like how the design draws in the user and how the site is easy to navigate. I liked the simplicity of the Ello website layout and you can tell that the website was created with design in mind however, something is missing. There is a hole in the design that still needs to be filled. The Ello designers may be able to do just that as the website grows over the next few months. I do really like the Ello logo. It is a black circle with a white smile drawn on it. Their logo is simple, memorable and distinct. It is warm and inviting. It is the perfect logo for a new social media website.

Ello's logo design Ello's logo design

The question now becomes, can Ello keep up with its new rising fame and can it really compete with Facebook? Many new users have already started complaining that they are unhappy with the overall experience offered by Ello. The website is still in Beta phase so hopefully a lot of these little errors will be ironed out very soon. Ello does lack some important privacy features though and this could weaken their support. Also, the founders plan to turn a profit by selling extra features on Ello for a dollar or two. Will this actually work? I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that one just yet. Personally, I just see Ello as another passing phase that won’t last. Facebook is good and I think it will take a stronger website to seriously posse any real threat to Facebook’s success.

So, what do you think? Who’s in? Does anybody want an invite?




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