As we covered data mining this week we were asked to read about the anti-advertising stance of the social network Ello. Ello has vowed to never data mine and thus remain anti-advertising. Initially, this sounds like a great idea, but what could it mean for the future of this network?
Ello might seem attractive because of their stance and the ability to post with more creativity. However, the average American uses about two social networks. When you consider how deeply rooted many users are with friends on platforms like Facebook, it would be challenging to get them to switch over to Ello as their primary network if their friends don’t follow.
With advertising, we can learn about things that we might not see otherwise. Even though Facebook uses Edgerank to show users posts that they have been known to like, some things we want to know about might never make it to our newsfeed unless they are promoted. Additionally, “more than 50%…are connected to brands.” Advertising attracts brands and brings in resources allowing networks to add new features. Ello plans to also offer upgraded features to their users, for a price. We want to use the network to enjoy the experience, whether it’s catching up with friends or playing social games. The ability to share content from Ello to other social platforms could help bring others in but it would open users up to data mining from those platforms. This goes against the whole point of using Ello in the first place. Users would deactivate posts to prevent others from sharing it on other networks.
From a different perspective, Jonathan Crossfield explains that, “Ello might be anti-advertising, but it’s clearly not anti-marketing – particularly if the content is stylish and interesting enough to fit in with the celebration of creativity and design that Ello aspires to be.” Depending on the brand, marketers could do well in nurturing intimacy with their Ello audience. All of the focus would be on giving to the community and asking very little in return. Without advertising and promoted posts, content would rule!
Who might use platforms that share Ello’s stance? Perhaps artsy types who don’t care if Ello’s numbers ever reach the likes of Facebook’s would embrace it. The fact that it’s different is the most attractive characteristic. Using it makes a statement, like wearing patchouli oil. Others might not be the types you want to be around. Because all of your data stays within Ello and you aren’t subject to data mining, those who want access to adult content can live free without worrying about others impeding on their lifestyle or learning about their preferences.
My prediction for Ello and other networks that share the same stance? They will be the perfect network for few. Creative minds will flock to it and people who have something to hide might spend time looking for others who share their unsavory interests, but they will never reach the numbers that we have seen with Facebook or Twitter.