Now that the social network, Ello, has raised $6 million in venture capital, $5.5 million of which was announced today, you can expect to start hearing a lot more about it.
Ello has been billed by some as the anti-Facebook in that it claims not to leverage users’ data in any way. Ello’s said it will never allow advertising. “…[O]ur cause is to prove the Internet doesn’t have to be one big billboard.”
Ello has also proved popular in the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender community because the social network allows pseudonyms, something Facebook does not not.
Beyond the anti-Facebook talk, some even call Ello the Facebook killer. The basis being that people are so freaked about their data being used to sell advertising that they’ll run off to a non-data gathering ad free social network.
Why would people invest $6 million in a company that has no business model, as widely respected Journalism professor and media critic Jeff Jarvis Asks.
Investing in the momentum of social networks, especialy one that was registering 100,000 users at its peak is the draw.
Plus knowledge that social networks are a not zero sum game. There can be more than one social network, and Facebook is only going to continue to grow.
What do I think of Ello? I don’t really know. I registered and completed my profile after receiving an invite from a friend. I have not used it since.
I view social networks as wide open and heavily populated communities. Facebook includes a lot of people I already know and a lot of people I’d like to get to know.
In addition to engagement with lots of people on Facebook, I receive quality information on Facebook because of the “quality” of my Facebook friends.
Ello is shallow in numbers — and thus shallow in the opportunities for quality engagement and information.
Let alone that I’d be adding another social network to my life when Facebook, the one I use the most, is enough.
I also don’t view advertising as a problem. I have coped with advertising on TV, in newspapers and on billboards. Being “advertised to” has never freaked me out nor motivated me to fight back at those who conspired with advertisers. Some advertising even taught me things.
I’ve also surrendered my data for years to grocery stores, drug stores, banks, credit card companies, and even television advertisers. I don’t view Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook as any worse – or any better than those companies.
For professionals, such as lawyers looking to network to build relationships and enhance your reputation as a trusted authority, I’d not invest a lot of time in Ello. Go where the people are – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Sure, play with Elo if you want.
I played with answering people’s legal questions on Compuserve and Prodidgy in the ’90’s. But it was AOL where the vast majority of people were and that’s where I spent most of my time.
Ello may be something, just not something that I’d be spending a lot time on today.
PS – This coming from a guy who said seven years ago that Facebook was not worth a lawyers time. ;)
Image courtesy of Flickr by Thomas Hawk