A new advertisement free, social networking website, Ello. co, launched earlier this year and is an invitation-only way to share artwork, photographs and thoughts in text posts.
Founded by Paul Budnitz in March 2014, Ello is a private social network that allows the user to opt out of information sharing.
After requesting an invitation to join the site and entering your email address, an agreement shows up that is adamant about letting the user know that old social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter consider users as products. It goes on to state “Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data.”
Ello finishes the post by differentiating themselves from the normal social media site and states: “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.”
Ello does not allow extraneous posts in the user’s feed and only shows the posts of users they are following.
Overall, the layout is not clear, nor is the object of the website. There are public profiles that non-users can view displayed on the homepage, but in order to create an account, a user has to wait for an invitation in the order they are requested. The site started gaining popularity in September 2014 as many users deviated from Facebook.
The information Ello collects includes your location, language, referring website and the time spent on it. However, it does not ask for the user’s full name or any other personal details and information sharing can be completely turned off.
According to the website’s frequently asked questions, “Beginning later this year, Ello will offer special paid features.” The features will be optional and will continue to help the user personalize their experience.
“Ello is another way to keep up with the world’s best photojournalists,” Professor Kenneth Hoffman, in Seton Hall’s Department of Communication and the Arts who teaches Digital Photography, Introduction to Multimedia and several other media based courses, said.
He also said that its layout is not as inviting as other sites like Vimeo or 500px that encourage the sharing of videos and pictures. It also does not have any real interactivity.
“I’d want to go to the site that gave me the best opportunity to learn and have a dialogue,” Hoffman said.
Junior marketing major Nathaniel Sherman said, “They have no way to make money.”
In order to make money they should find a way to advertise that doesn’t annoy people, Sherman said.
Rosemary Sweigart can be reached at email@example.com. edu.