Does Ello have what it takes to unsettle the 1.3 billion Facebook users?
Paul Budnitz first founded Ello as a private social network for friends to share artwork and communicate with one another. Currently, there are over 40,000 requests per hour asking to join the Ello network and to become part of this new anti-Facebook posse. Many have tried and failed to dethrone Facebook, however Ello seems to meet generation Y’s au courant needs and desires for something greater, something new.
It all came down to great timing. Just as Facebook revealed their ‘real name’ policy, Ello rolled out their ‘secret identity’ carpet. On Ello, there are no security measures holding you back from logging-on as the Prince of Narnia to ‘connect, create and celebrate life’ with other users.
The minimalist design, respectful of whitespace and the beauty of full quality images, follows the trend of ‘less, but better’ by Dieter Rams. It would be difficult to describe how the Scandi-inspired platform works without referring to existing social media platforms. Imagine a blend of twitter and tumblr, you can post high quality images and long form content as well as mention people using the traditional @ technique.
One of the main questions concerning this new social media nirvana, is how Budnitz & Co are going to maintain their strong ethical mantra alongside financial sustainability. Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine how a social media network without ads and selling user information to third parties is going to welcome financial rewards. Ello aims to make money by offering various features and functionalities for a one-off fee. Budnitz has compared the platform to an app-store, upselling Ello features to create a personalised and enhanced user experience.
It will be interesting to see whether Ello sticks to it’s principles and strong worded manifesto, or whether in time it will leave behind its pure-organic-conscious ad-free principles in search of greater growth. If Ello were to succeed, we will surely begin to question whether there newly discovered niche has the potential to shape a new, ad-light internet model.