Friday, September 26, 2014

Will the World be Saying 'Ello to Ello, and Sayounara to Facebook?

I remember being a high school student a few years after the turn of the century. When I was a freshman, everyone had a blog on Xanga. Sophomore year was when MySpace took over, and you just weren't cool unless you had a page on the site. Tom's social network was dominant until my sophomore year in college, when everyone started jumping on the Facebook bandwagon. Since then, Zuckerberg's brainchild has surpassed one billion, but it has also undergone several changes that have many users upset.

Just like MySpace before it, Facebook has undergone several template changes which make the platform far more complicated than it used to be. Advertisements take up a good portion of the screen, and more and more changes have been made to the settings, making it harder to hide information that you do not want to share. Another major issue with the site is the crackdown on users that do not want to use their real names, which makes it harder for artists, musicians, writers, etc. that wish to use pseudonyms or remain anonymous. Some users are hungry for a change in pace. Will they go back to the redesigned Myspace? No; that site is old, but it isn't quite vintage enough to suite the tastes of the modern social media consumer. Which site will people waste their time on now?

Enter Ello, a newcomer to the social network game. This new challenger offers users a simplistic interface, no advertisements, and the freedom to name themselves whatever they want to. For the time being, registration is only open to those that receive an invitation, and the current userbase seems to be a pack of hipsters (but isn't every social network infested with them?). Those that are looking for an alternative to Facebook might want to give it a try.

Hold up, how will Ello stay online without advertisement revenue?

Similar to free online games that allow users to purchase items using real-word currency, Ello will give users additional features should they decide to pay for them. This "freemium" model of financing is quite interesting, and I look forward to seeing how far it gets. Personally, I think that we will eventually be seeing advertisements on the site's pages, especially as it grows larger, but the founders of this budding social network have laid down some good intentions.

If Ello does succeed and becomes a contender in the battle against Facebook, or if it overtakes the current champion of the social network scene, then we can expect it to eventually face its own competitors in the future. Just like great nations and great empires, social networks seem to rise, bloat, and fall over time, while their users migrate on to the next "must-join" website.

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