A new social network has launc— WAIT! Don’t run away!
For quite a while, Alex and I were constantly hearing from people who wanted us to help them build “the Facebook of x“, where x was some industrial vertical, demographic or affinity group. Nearly all of those folks hadn’t taken into account the fact that, with a large and growing share of the population, Facebook was already the Facebook of x.
But now there’s Ello, which has no ambitions to be the Facebook of anything. They don’t want to be Facebook at all:
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.
From everything else you’ve read here, you can guess that second-last paragraph is the kind of language that sets my heart a-flutter. All they’d have needed to get me selling my worldly possessions and hitch-hiking down to light candles outside the Berger & Föhr offices in Boulder were a few references to the open web and maybe a Tux.
Right now, Ello’s a very interesting platform, and I like what I’ve seen of their publishing mechanism; it’s a lot like the Storify editor crossed with Medium’s. There aren’t a lot of folks there I know yet (although hey, the day’s still young), but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. It’s nice to have a little space to stretch your legs before the crowd shows up.
If you’d like to have a look as well, let me know in the comments and I’ll send you an invitation. All out of invitations — but I’ll let you know if Ello coughs up some more.
Updated: Check out Alexandra Samuel’s take on all of this. Fly or flop, Ello’s sudden rise has a sobering message for brands, business and marketers: change the way you use social media, or risk losing your audience.