If you haven't seen people sharing their new Ello profile on social media yet, it's only a matter of time. The “new” social network, which is currently growing at a meteoric rate, has actually been launched since March. Pundits are speculating as to why the Facebook alternative has picked up some speed in the last few weeks, reportedly doubling in size every 3-4 days.
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The Facebook alternative is still in beta mode, and is invite only. The hype has resulted in people flogging their invites on ebay for reportedly as much as $500.
So, someone literally sold an Ello invite for $500 on ebay. DO NOT PARTAKE IN THIS FOOLISHNESS :: http://t.co/Cb2R9s8EbM— CacheFlowe (@cacheflowe) September 24, 2014
According to Techcrunch, Ello is aimed initially at designers, artists, and creators. It becomes clear once you visit the site that it's aimed at a trendy demographic. Their motto “simple, beautiful and ad-free”, pangs of self-satisfied hipster. The bio of co-founder Paul Budnitz is even cringier - “conceives and creates beautiful products that change the world”. The words “beauty” and “simplicity” crop up again in Ello’s short manifesto, which I can’t help reading to myself in the voice of Derek Zoolander, for some reason:
“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.”
Budnitz made it known yesterday said they will remain “Ad-Free and Porn Friendly”.
However, the most commonly posited theory about Ello’s sudden growth has to do with Facebook’s real name policy. Facebook’s new policy of insisting that users' accounts are registered with their legal names, has caused upset amongst some drag and transgender performers. The performers have called upon Facebook to allow for stage names, which are integral to their identity, according to the group. Facebook justified its name policy to “to protect the community and increase accountability.” So far, their stance has not wavered, and they suggest other routes around the ‘real’ name policy.
Whether or not this is what is truly responsible for kickstarting Ello's growth remains to be seen. However it will be interesting to see how this plays out - is it finally time to say goodbye to Facebook?
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