Erin Roan MacDonald

Hello Ello

A bunch of people in my Facebook feed sought after invites to Ello today–the new social site that offers an alternative to sites that mine your data and then show you advertisements based on such data. 


Ello has promised, from the Ello Manifesto:

“Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity, and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.

You are not a product.”

This is exactly what I have been hoping for from a social site. No fancy algorithms. No putting a bunch of articles in my feed from outlets I don’t want to read. No tracking my browsing experience and then posting ads as such. The way it is now–if I  decide to merely peak at pair of shoes on Zappos, Facebook then shows me ads of Zappos shoes for days, even the ones that I liked that were out of stock –so it wasn’t very useful.  I don’t use Ebay but I went there recently and bookmarked a pair of shoes while I looked around. For days I was shown those pair of shoes in my feed to bid on. I never opted in for any Ebay-Facebook interface and I was totally logged out of Ebay. It’s pretty fucking creepy.

It seems unlikely that Facebook could fall after all, users on Facebook are over 1 billion around the world. But we have seen it before.* With Myspace and Friendster and we have seen significant growth of other sites besides Facebook that are currently popular like Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

Social media is here to stay. We all have the internet. Many people have smart phones.

All someone needs to do is create a better product and get the people there.

Google + tried but it hasn’t really taken off.  The main reason I have stayed away from Google+ has been their clutch on the recently relinquished real name vs. pseudonym name policy. Something that is a hot issue right now at Facebook and part of the reason people want to leave, as it presents real life safety concerns.

Rock on Ello–I wish you the best. It’s still in the very beginning and in Beta so there are some quirks. It was intended as a private site so I wonder if it has the resources , especially without ads to make a dent in the social media sphere. If it doesn’t make it I hope other sites will.  Even if it does, I think the world can handle more than one social media site that lets users have more privacy and control about what they see on their screens.

*Heed the warnings y’all. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket marketing wise. If you are an artist or a professional find ways to reach your clients outside of one social site so you can find them when Facebook is less utilized. If you are an individual do you really want Facebook to have all your personal photos? This is really another post..

(My profile is private on Ello for now till I see where it goes. If you want to follow me there, send me a private message through this blog.)



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