Over the last week or so, you may have heard a bit of buzz about something called Ello.
In case you’re still completely in the dark, Ello is a new social network that is selling itself as the anti-Facebook. Although it’s up and running, it’s still invite-only.
Think of it as the Regina George of social networks – a total Mean Girl. People are so keen to be part of the exclusive club, in fact, that invites are selling for up to $100 on eBay. WTF?!
So what’s all the fuss about?
Aside from the fact that there are fewer members (for now, anyway), what’s the real difference between Ello and any other social network? Well, here’s the thing: it has no ads and the creators say it never will.
That means no annoying sponsored posts, no bizarre weight loss ads starring Miriam O’Callaghan and Jennifer Aniston, and no fear that your information is being shared with companies all over the world.
“You are not a product,” says the Ello manifesto, which describes the site as “a place to connect, create and celebrate life.” Sounds kinda like all the other social networks, if we’re being honest!
Another perk is that you can use any name you like on your profile. This mightn’t seem like a huge deal to most of us, but Facebook’s recent policy that users can only use their legal name on their profiles has outraged many, especially drag performers and LGBT activists.
What’s it like?
We haven’t been invited into the inner circle yet, but we’ve tracked down a few people who have. Ello was created by a group of artists, and the overall look is very minimalist, with lots of white space.
But it’s not very user-friendly according to one user. “Clean and simple—although the look is trying a bit too hard and the actual user experience is a nightmare. Thank you, hipster designers,” said writer Leslie Horn.
It works similarly to Facebook and Twitter, with timelines, news feeds, @ replies, the whole shebang. It’s just a little, well, cooler.
Should I even bother with it?
Hard to say. There’s a big buzz now because it’s still not open to all, but it’s difficult to know whether Ello really could be a match for the other giants out there. No big stars have made the move yet, so it’s not going to be as useful as Twitter is for news or as Instagram is for celeb- stalking.
It’s free to request an invite on the website though, so you might as well get your name on the list!