Social Network graphic

What The …Ello?

Maybe you have heard of it, maybe not but say, “Hello,” to Ello, the newest social media platform to join the ever-changing communications world.

Ello touts itself as a free network where advertising will never exist. Music to every complaining Facebook users ears, right? The platform’s manifesto states that they will never collect or sell consumer information. Sounds good so far….

Here’s where it gets a little more confusing. Ello has been around since March but only gained popularity in September when Facebook adjusted their terms of service to force users to display their real names. Ello users are not required to use their names, which helped to attract a community of individuals looking to keep their online personalities separate from their real identity.

Enter-Growing Pains

Ello is by invitation only and still in beta, but their fan base is multiplying at a high rate. Until now, Ello was a very private network with a few hundred users. It is now servicing 3-4 thousand invitation requests per day. Glitchy features and constant updates will be a challenge while they’re trying to keep up with the demands of their growing membership. However, Ello has done an excellent job communicating their changes and upcoming features in the “About” section, where they note “Built” vs. “Coming Soon.” They express that all suggestions are welcome as they grow. Satisfying what the social user wants could be their key to success!

The Look

The layout is simple. Black and white, circles and squares. You can categorize your following in two ways “Friends” or “Noise” depending on preference. Don’t worry, those you follow won’t be offended by your choice to throw them into the “Noise” category because Ello doesn’t notify them as such. The notification is a simple “@user started following you” or “you started following @user.” At first glance you will notice the posts are well thought out creations by the users posting the content. You immediately notice the difference in quality of content vs. a feed filled with pumpkin spice latte jokes and e-cards. Based on my suggested “Noise” feed (I only have one friend, who also invited me) it appears that most users’ content is trade or work related, which could help spin Ello into the next social space for creative’s.

The Verdict

It’s too soon to know whether Ello is destined to be the universal next big thing, but they seem to be attracting artists, designers and coders, which means they could achieve greatness with the help of their members. All things considered, Ello’s success will all be based on how fast they can move to their full functionality.

Ello will not be the end to social giants like Facebook and Twitter or social driven advertising. It wouldn’t surprise me either if brands creep in and attempt to show off their latest products with non-paid ad content. It won’t be long now before we know if this hype came too soon, or if Ello takes a step backwards in the Snapchat realms of disappearing content. At the least, it will be fun to watch as they build features, consider suggestions and create a new platform that hundreds have been enjoying since March.