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Hello Ello: Can a new platform be a threat to Facebook, Twitter et al.

By Tim Fuell - October 4, 2014

At risk of making us all sound like Cockney barrow-boys the latest new social network to get timelines buzzing, may just have hit upon all the good and eliminated much of the bad associated with social media. Step forward Ello.

Paul Budnitz - Founder of Ello

Paul Budnitz – Founder of Ello

Those wanting to join, apparently hit 31,000 requests an hour at peak, not bad for a concept initially designed to be used between a group of 100 or so friends. Remember the name of Paul Budnitz, founder of Ello in Vermont, if this really is a “Facebook Killer” or a strong rival then the film and autobiography won’t be far behind.

The reason the very minimalist design, invite only platform has proved so interesting since being opened to the public at large on 7th August, is that it has pledged to stay ad-free and not sell users’ data. A nice thought but when the site hit technical difficulties last weekend – probably due to the sheer scale-up – many doubted the ability to succeed on such a business model. The platform plans to introduce micro-payments for certain features over the coming weeks, looking at the App-style model. How do we know this? It’s because Ello has a manifesto and just like a student union club during Freshers week who pledge to save a rare breed of mosquito in the Amazon rainforest with your help, that worthiness, uniqueness and promises of a better type of social networking, is much of its appeal. “We believe there is a better way.” is almost becoming its tagline.

The Ello Manifesto

The Ello Manifesto

Many have also cited the two-tier follow model as a reason they like it. Whereas Facebook decides for you who is most important in your timeline and Twitter is working hard to help you differentiate between the different people you follow, Ello dives straight in more like Google+ and its circles. You can follow people neither as ‘friends’ or as ‘noise’ and the best thing is that they won’t know which category you placed them in. That will have to prove a strong win, as experience suggests worthiness and good deeds run short of real success in the long run, so it will need more.

Many are looking at Ello as the social network to do business on. Clearer, cleaner and without distractions, Ello could help form real relationships for the serial networkers and others, interacting on simpler terms and getting more done.

Is the furore around Ello just FoMo? Probably. Fear of missing out is often cited as the reason for meteoric rises in technology projects and this is no different. Take a look at the majority of posts on Ello at present and it is not hyper-engagement taking place, it is simply people trying to link and be-friend as many people as possible to build up their Ello network. Take a look at who is on there and using it and it is many of the usual names. The early adopters, effectively testing the project before no doubt moving on to the next idea if Ello fails to satisfy.

Whether Ello is a long term success of failure, its meteoric rise can only be a good thing for those serious about social business. The existing big boys Twitter and Facebook will no doubt be tuning in intently to see what is powering the drive to Ello in an attempt to understand their own customers better.

The Ello GuideSo what if you have your Ello application approved and get you invitation through? If you have the time follow it through. Seeing how other platforms work is a great insight into how you can better use your preferred platform, it’s like thinking outside of the box. If you do get the invite, this introduction, instruction manual put together by one agency is likely to come in handy.

Saying Ello to a new social media platform is an eye opener in itself, making many in business realise that the market is actually still very young, Yes Facebook and Twitter have major headstarts but so did once Yahoo’s search directory which this week also took a final bow after Google, Bing, et l crippled it’s world. Nothing is certain, especially in the technology world and Ello is by far from being the last big talking point.