Social network Ello seemingly burst onto the online scene this week and is promising an awful lot to users in terms of empowerment, privacy and an ad-free experience. Just look at their manifesto:
“Your social network is owned by advertisers.
Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.
We believe there is a better way…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.”
Sound appealing? Ello certainly think so and judging by their huge increase in user numbers, we can only assume that other people think so too. In fact, Ello reportedly had just 90 members in August but it is now boasting a signup rate of 30,000 users per hour!
From a user perspective, Ello provides a platform on which people can enjoy a social networking experience, without privacy fears or a bombardment of ads. Therefore, in the eyes of businesses, Ello is somewhat of a less attractive prospect.
However, businesses should use the fact that Ello’s manifesto is so appealing to people to rethink the ways in which they utilise social networks for marketing purposes. After all, it seems that a transformation is occurring in the online world and everyday people now have profound misgivings about the social networks they frequent.
Ello’s surging popularity is testament to this fact and this piece from Pew Research highlights that more people are deliberately taking steps to obscure their digital footprint.
Obviously, Ello has a long way to go before it starts threatening online giants like Facebook and Twitter, but it does inevitably represent a shift in online preferences. And while Ello may never become as big as the established players, businesses should see its popularity as a warning shot across their bows.
Attention needs to be paid to the unequivocal fact that there is growing public discomfort with advertiser-dominated social networks and user experiences driven by algorithms. Going forward, businesses need to rethink their advertising tactics and focus on forging long-lasting relationships with their customers.