Invite-only social media site Ello an uninspired recycling bin for other networking sites

By Troy Kowalchuk

If Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Vine, Instagram and any of the countless other social media websites are not enough for you, there is a new social media website that could be the next big thing: Ello. Probably not, however, as staring at a blank Google document offers more features than Ello does.

For those who have not been invited yet, Ello is the new ad-free social media website designed for artists, by artists. First created as a small private social media website, Ello gained more attention after many members of the LGBTQIA community began using it after Facebook tried to force users to use their real names. This turned away many drag queens who used different names to protect themselves.

Since its creation in April 2014, Ello has been gaining popularity and pulling users from other social networking sites like Facebook and Tumblr. The appeal of the site is the ad-free, simple interface, which the creators of Ello stated proudly in their manifesto, “We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive.”

However, not everyone can take part in this empowerment. To use the website, you need to get invited by friends who are members themselves.

Yet this Ello cool club is like a group of people claiming a table as a cool kids table — when the table offers nothing new or interesting than any other and that it is the same table. It’s like an exclusive club, except the club is an empty room with only white walls, no music or anything for that matter.

It is anything but innovative.

Is it ad free? Yes. However, if you want any more of its features you need to pay for it. Ello also boasts that it will not sell information to third parties, but with what the website has to offer, it is not even worth putting that information on the website as no one will see it in the first place. It’s just an over glorified website that gives artists a sense of superiority that they are a part of this new “simple, beautiful, ad-free” club.

What is ironic is anything posted on the site is generally from the users’ other social media websites. Presumably because there is not much else going on in Ello. Does it play videos? No. Does it let you chat with people like Facebook? No. Does it offer customization? If you count an icon and a background photo as customization, then yes.

What is amazing about Ello is that the website got the attention that it did. It does not deserve the 15 minutes of fame – it didn’t even deserve 15 seconds of fame. It’s a waste of time and offers absolutely nothing to social media users. Ello calls itself “simple” and “beautiful,” but what is so beautiful about a white page with a black smiley face with no eyes, and re-used posts? What is so simple about a website with so many unanswered questions that the website is hardly useable, even to those who are interested? The website is not worth your time and is not worth the publicity. It should go back to being private where it belongs.

Troy Kowalchuk can be reached at [email protected]