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5 Things to Consider before Ditching Facebook and Joining Ello

If you’re ready to say goodbye to Facebook, you aren’t the only one. However, there hasn’t been a good enough reason to make the leap off the social media giant. Maybe that's about to change.

Say hello to Ello, a “simple, beautiful, and ad-free” social media alternative. You’ve probably noticed sudden buzz about Ello in your Facebook feed. This new social media network seems to have popped up overnight and become a smash hit. At least that’s what you’d think if you didn’t know that every new thing in today’s world is automatically the best new thing.

say ello

Ello is certainly worth exploring, but before you go through the multi-step process required to delete your Facebook account, here are some things to consider about the new social media engine.

1. Say Goodbye to Privacy

All profiles and posts on Ello are public. At least for now. As stated in its privacy policy, “Ello is a public network…search engines will be able to see the content you post. Content you post may be copied, shared, or re-posted on Ello and on other parts of the internet.” In other words, whatever you post on Ello is available for everyone to see—forever. Sure, you can delete stuff from your personal account (and you can even delete your account using the handy DELETE button), but you have no control over what happens to anything you post. That means this isn’t the place to complain about your boss, share your naked selfies, or post rants you don’t want the world to see. If you don’t like being careful about what you say—and about what people know about you—then Ello may not be right for you.

2. Say Hello to Bugs

Ello is buggy. Early reports have revealed login problems, search problems, and general usability problems (not to mention a server that can't handle the traffic). This is understandable. After all, Ello is still in beta mode. However, some of these problems should have been resolved before Ello “launched” (it’s currently invite only). It’s one thing to test features (Facebook and Google run tests all the time). The fact that Ello has these problems now is not a good sign of things to come.

3. Say Goodbye to Ads…and Hello to Fees

Ello is a free service. You can create your account for free. All options currently available are free. It’s also completely ad-free—and it promises to stay that way. If you’re getting ready to sound your skeptic horn, hold off for a second. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and many others were ad-free at first as well. But none of those platforms were designed with an ad-free principle in mind. Ad-free isn’t a novelty for Ello—it’s a business model. Before you get too excited though, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Ello is a business. It has to make money. How will it do that? It’s going to make you pay. Not necessarily to use the site, but to use certain features. They are starting simple and gradually adding features as the network grows. In order to keep up with the trends, you are going to have to pay to use these advanced features. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

4. Say Hello to Nothing New

What Ello lacks (other than content, snazzy features, and a big user base) is something that's unique. Ello is completely derivative. Browsing through Ello, you’ll see a combination of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and others, all stripped down into a bare-bones package. The only thing “new” is the lack of ads and the promise to protect your information. Of course, this isn’t new at all. Social media website Diaspora has been doing this for over a year now (and it hasn’t sunk Facebook yet). Ello does have some “new” things in the works. For example, pretty soon you’ll be able to “love” posts. If only Google+ had asked us to “love” things instead of “plus one” them.

5. Say Goodbye to Being a Product…and Hello to Being a Product

Ello doesn’t want its users to be “products.” According to Ello, all other social media platforms just want you for your data. They use you to make money. In fact, Ello even states “You are not a product.” Before you declare Ello your new friend, take a second to think about what’s happening here. Ello is gathering a network of users. They are collecting a mountain of data from these users. They are going to use this data to determine what features they should (and shouldn’t) offer. They are going to charge users for some of these features, and they are going to base these decisions on the data they collected from the users. While they may not be selling your information, you are still very much a piece of data on Ello. It's also worth noting that Ello plans to keep all of your data forever, and they also acknowledge the right to share your data with any partners that join them.

All that being said, Ello does show some promise. It’s not likely to replace Facebook—or even put a dent in it.  Still, this isn’t a start-up we should immediately write off as a copycat or slinger of false promises. Ello is doing good things and has good intentions.

Of course, the road to social media happiness isn’t paved with good intentions.

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