I'm sure someone is asking these questions, but I'm going to take a stab at it anyways because I haven't found them. I joined Ello quite early – thanks to my friend and fellow marketing tech addict, Kevin Mullett.
Immediately, within the small network I roamed and discovered some amazing people that I had never met before. We began sharing and speaking… and it was quite amazing. Someone even commented that Ello had that new network smell. Over the weekend, I spent more time there than on Facebook… mostly viewing images and discovering people.
Why Do We Need Ello?
The immediate buzz around Ello and massive growth tells me one thing: We are not happy with the networks we have. Some people are focusing on the fact that Ello doesn't have mass adoption, others are focusing on features. They're both missing the point. It's not about the adoption nor the features, it's about whether the network fosters improved, healthy communication between human beings.
Is Ello the Answer?
No, not in my opinion. I know that Ello is beta but they've been clear about their vision by writing a 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.
It doesn't state this, but I'm going to paraphrase a bit and state that Ello believes a tie in with corporate dollars is a sell out, that companies are the enemy.
They're wrong. Humans have relationships with businesses, products and services every day – and most of us appreciate those relationships. The companies that build the products I buy aren't my enemy, I want them to be my friend… and I want to deepen my relationship with them.
I want them to listen to me, to respond to me, and to communicate to me personally when they know I'll be interested.
Social Media Marketing is Failing Us
In the early days of Facebook, companies were allowed to set up pages to build their community and foster relationships beyond people with the brands they appreciated. It was the promise of social media marketing – that we didn't have to shove ads in front of everyone and force them through a funnel of interruption to try to squeeze out a few sales. Businesses and consumers could mutually communicate with one another in a beautiful, permission-based interface.
We built our communities and engaged… and then Facebook pulled the rug out from under us. They began hiding our page updates. They now force us to advertise to the very people that requested engagement!
Social media advertising is the de facto crap standard of marketing – unchanged since the first direct mail piece, the first newspaper advertisement, or the first search engine ad pulled our attention away from the content we cared about. Social Media advertising is a failure.
Is Ello Different?
A couple days into using Ello, I was followed by @ausdom. I'm curious about anyone who follows me so I clicked through and immediately grimaced. Ausdom is a logo and their updates are pushing their products. Ugh… the first SPAM has hit Ello. I doubt that Ausdom is the first brand there, but they were the first to follow me so they get the mention.
My prediction is that Ello will now be overrun with brand accounts (much like Twitter has), with no differentiation or limitations. THIS is the problem, my friends. While we want to create relationships with brands, we don't want them shoved down our throats. It's not the buying and selling of data that bothers me in social media (although government access to it scares the hell out of me), it's the abomination of poor social media marketing that bugs me. Ello will be overrun soon and destroyed unless they make this about people first and contain the brands.
The Social Network We Need!
I will gladly give any brand my data as long as I provide it to them in exchange for a better user and marketing experience. They need not buy it. I don't want a company to just be able to sign up on a platform and begin talking to me. I want them to passively wait until I make the first move.
Ello is not the answer and won't be the answer judging by their manifesto. But there's no doubt that we are hungry for change! We need something other than Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. We want a network where there are constraints that put the consumer in charge and help the marketer build respectable relationships with leads, prospects, and customers.
Businesses would fund this type of network. Businesses pay thousands of dollars for tools to monitor and respond to social media conversations, surely they'll pay a subscription fee to a network that provides a free interface for consumers but enables permission-based relationships to be created and grow. PS: I once pitched a product like this to an incubator and it was passed over. I wish I had the funding to build it!
Send me the invite if you've found that network!