In short, it’s the new “anti-Facebook” that’s creating quite a buzz in digital media. But why is this different from every other time someone claimed to have made the “new Facebook,” and why are people so excited about it?
What is Ello?
We’ve seen plenty of failed attempts at creating “the next big thing” when it comes to social networking. But despite the various failed networks that have come and gone, there’s an ever-growing urgency for something to come along and replace Facebook amongst many users who’ve grown tired of its control.
Medium’s Quinn Norton had some pretty powerful things to say about social control and how it’s transcended the digital space—“People with power, status, and money want other people organized, but usually in ways that are subordinate to their wealth and station. Social networking software is no different—Facebook users love the access Facebook gives them to each other, but often hates the control is has over their lives.”
There’s no question that Americans spend a ton of time on Facebook and other social networks—we recently reported that Mark Zuckerberg said the average Facebook user spends 40 minutes every day on the network. Considering that 73% of online adults are using social networks, and 71% of them are using Facebook, it’s fair to say that almost every online adult is active on Facebook. And that’s not a surprising figure, since Facebook has given us the unique opportunity to catalog virtually every part of our lives and selectively share those memories with the rest of the world.
How often do you find yourself talking to someone about something—anything, really—and you wind up pulling up Facebook on your smartphone for a reference. Whether it’s a link you shared a cool article, a photo someone posted of their new baby, or an album from your recent trip to Prague, it seems as though Facebook frequently makes its way out of our computers and smartphones and into our offline world.
But what many people may have failed to realize in the early days of social networking was that every piece of personal information that you put online is, for all intents and purposes, permanent. It’s often said that once something goes online, you can never take it back. This is becoming more and more relevant as privacy concerns are raised daily throughout the media, and we see the effects of how our information is being sold to companies reflected in the advertisements that are fed to us online.
So what’s the solution? Some are saying that perhaps the answer is Ello, a brand new social network that is still very much in its infancy. It’s still super buggy and going through beta testing, but it’s recently opened up to select users who have been invited into the exclusive little club.
The Ello Manifesto
Ello is promoting itself as the “anti-Facebook,” complete with a manifesto that stands against advertisers and corporations ruling the social media sphere. Ello promotes transparency, simplicity, and community for the sake of bringing positive change to how we connect, setting itself apart from other networks with its social conscience.
Just two days ago, Betabeat reported that Ello’s founder, Paul Budnitz, said that requests for invite codes to Ello have exploded to 4,000 new users every hour. Since the new network’s existence went viral just a few days ago, requests for new signups has gone up to 31,000 per hour! While this is exciting in terms of a rush of interest in the new network, that kind of an unexpected influx is also terrifying to any startup.
For a minute, the Ello team was pretty sure they’d have to cut off new signups to keep up with the traffic overload, but it sounds like they’ve decided to weather the storm as it were, and are going to keep doing everything they can to manage the traffic surges.
Now that you have your answers to the question, “What is Ello?” What do you think will happen with it? Where do you think it will go? Can it, or anything, for that matter, ultimately wind up replacing Facebook? Join the conversation on our Facebook page and let us know your thoughts!