Despite Ello launching in March, only this week has engagement and user signups increased significantly on the network. It may be difficult to poinpoint exactly why Ello (available via invite only) has blown up, but TechCrunch believes “Facebook’s trenchant stance against LGBT users having both a real name and ‘persona’ name” may have angered some members.
On Ello, real names are not required, like on Twitter and Instagram.
Or should we lay credit at the the high-heeled feet of drag queen star RuPaul, who recently tweeted about Ello?
This week’s popularity of Ello has given the network 4,000 new signups hourly, founder Paul Budnitz said.
“I don’t know if it’s going to ever be ‘the next big thing,’ but it is definitely in the right place at the right time,” according to Christopher-Ian Reichel, a user-experience executive in New York. “And Facebook is at a critical moment where entire segments of its audience are all looking to jump ship.”
It should be noted Ello said it does harvest some data on its users. “This information helps us understand how people are using Ello, so we can make Ello better,” the company writes on its website. “For example, if we create a feature that everybody is using, we want to know about that.”
Also on its site Ello offers a manifesto outlining their approach to privacy and the user experience:
We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.
We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.
You are not a product.
Ello is divided into Friends and Noise. As we learn here, “Friends” offers large-format updates for people you know well, while “Noise” features bite-sized bulletins for everyone.