Ello social site, the anti-Facebook, is buzzing

New social media site Ello has gotten a lot of buzz in the past week. Its big thing is that it is ad-free, so it’s basically the anti-Facebook.

Here is the site’s manifesto:

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 your information will never be sold from Ello to advertisers.

The site was originally created by a group of seven artists and programmers, so many people say it’s nice to look at, and very visual. Without ads, it’s also a lot less cluttered. Ello’s logo is a black and white smiley face.

But the site is in beta, and is currently invite-only, so you can only join Ello if you get an invitation from someone who’s already on the site. Or you can request an invite on the site’s homepage. Paul Budnitz, the site’s creator, told BetaBeat on Thursday that the site is receiving 31,000 requests every hour. Invites are even for sale on eBay now.

If you do get your own profile, you can comment, mention other users, and see how many views your post has received. You can also use emojis. Soon, multimedia commenting, a notification center, and mobile apps will be available, according to the site.

And when you find people on the site, you can follow them in either your “friends,” or “noise,” and no one knows which place you put them in. This is Ello’s way of managing clutter, so you can follow the people you care most about in your friends, and everyone else can be separate.

The creators say the site will be free to use forever, but occasionally they will offer special features, and you’ll have to pay “a very small amount of money” if you want to add those to your account.

Without ads, will Ello last? Will it really catch on? People have, of course, taken to other social media sites to place their bets.

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily