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Is Ello a Facebook killer?
nathalie pommier
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Is Ello a Facebook killer?

Ello has been taking the web spotlight as the new anti-Facebook, but is it really? 

Ello is a private social network created by a group of designers and artists to be essentially minimal, ad-free and privacy conscious. The social network declares they won’t collect or sell users’ personal data, and their manifesto assures users they won't be thought of as products. Instead Ello explains that they will offer special features which users can pay small fees to add to their account, with the social network remaining otherwise free. That being said, companies won't be banned and are still able to create profiles and upload advertisements on their own page. Users aren't required to use their real name, making Ello more LGBT-friendly than Facebook with their strict name policy. 

For now Ello is available as a beta and through invitation only.

Users seem to agree that although the social network utilizes very simple design, the user experience isn't hitting the mark with the basic search feature not working and other small but annoying glitches. Also, several key features such as a Like/reblog system, user blocking, and private accounts are not yet functioning and listed as coming soon.

After setting up our profile, I can say it’s not difficult to figure out. Posting is simple though glitchy half of the time, and there isn't much to see yet if you don't have many friends on there. Basically, Ello is like a much less sophisticated version of Google+ mashed with Tumblr.  (Check it out for yourself - here are some invite codes for our readers: mushroom-grinned-here, world-serpents-opened, before-pieces-moved-to, tonight-where-all-them)

The avid interest in Ello during recent weeks (with ~ 35k requesting invitations per hour) shows how thirsty users have become for meaningful user experiences online. Tech spectators are uncertain of the lasting appeal of Ello, but the point is that users want the web to change direction and move toward user centered networks and online communities. Beyond Ello, more interesting for users than generic social networks will be specialized online communities catered to common interests, professions, industries, social change and the like. Will Ello kill Facebook? Doubt it, but it's this push for user centered social networks that will remain relevant.

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