In the wake of controversy over Facebook’s real-name policy emerged the noble, altruistic social network, Ello. The artists and designers who created Ello rode in like hipster- knights in shining armor and declared their valiant manifesto; that those wanting to maintain their identities of choice and who don’t want their social activity to be bought and sold for the almighty advertising dollar need look no further.
Ello’s invite-only platform became impossible to infiltrate overnight. It felt like a party at a hip Brooklyn art gallery where the guest list is kept secret. Motivated by equal parts FOMO and a mildly narcissistic desire to stay ahead of the latest trends, I began a frenzied search for an invite. Not-so-ironically, my bicycle-riding, beanie-wearing, graphic designer friend gave me the in. But after 10 minutes of wide-eyed perusal of the stark site, I was at a loss for what to do next. And to be honest, I haven’t been back.
Herein lays the dilemma: Ello just doesn’t give users a better alternative to what they already have. And while the moral high ground that Ello stands on is admirable, I have little confidence that Ello’s call to action will result in revolutionizing the ad-clogged social networks that we live on today.
From first glance, the minimalist layout is beautiful, a welcome respite from the constant information that bombards us every day.