I haven’t received my official invitation yet to join the new Ello social media site and the anxiety is killing me. I know, I know, we are all taxed to death trying to remember the passwords for all of the other next big things we tried to get in early on.
And though it sure as hell doesn’t pay to get in on early on anything because you are asking for a recall or network bug fix or just a general urgent need to opt out, just this once this year I’d like to be one of the first in line of having hip stuff to do. Such as standing in line for a new Apple phone, or, even better, writing a marketing essay to explain why the new U2 album sucks without saying a word about the music. I missed the early rush on Twitter.com and now I’m behind on that fad, and nobody ice bucket challenged me, either.
So hey, Ello, am I worhty? Less is like, you know, more. Dig the design. Don’t care if nobody’s there. Let me in early so I can greet the advancing wave of tech writers who have been somehow cattle prodded to write endless numbers of stories about a web site that is still in beta.
It’s almost as if there’s a participatory viral culture out there that hops on subjects for the mere pleasure of doing the wave. Like what they do in stadiums when the baseball games get dull. As a result we have a media society that believes a viral Youtube.com video is a legitimate network news story.
But there’s something deeper at work here: If you want hits on your story posted to the web, nothing can be more potent than taking a few jabs at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.com. In fact, the only real thing working favor of Ello is its anti-Facebook branding, as indicated by brief statements (“manifesto”) critiquing the world’s largest social media site.
As the manifesto states: “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.
“We believe there is a better way. 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.”
So there’s definitely an anti-web, anti-America the Database vibe here, too. But I’m not sure how “transparency” jibes with annonymity.
Also, just in case one missed out on the intended rebellion-against-authoritarianism vibe, there is also a “WTF” statement included that goes: “A social network that has ads is a social network created for advertisers, not for people. … We’re not interested in ruling the world. We think people that are motivated to do things like that have unresolved psychological problems.”
How it can be supported without ads is the question of the century in the media business. If I was a prognosticator here, I would charge for each and every invitation to participate. Must be why I haven’t conquered the world.