Why Ello’s $450,000 in funding is a really, really good thing

Ello is the hip young social network that this week seemed to cross the threshold, from one of many, to the single most serious contender for Next Big Thing in the social online world. It has picked up an unknown but significant number of new users, many of them power user migrating from Twitter. And, of course, it’s been given some money by the Powers That Be in the form of venture capital.

Quite rightly, this has lead many folks if Ello has already departed down the slippery slope to evil, despite its charming manifesto packed with good intentions.

Here’s another way to look at the same data. Ello has one thing, and only one thing going for it. It has declared on the side of privacy – and the rights of its users – at a time when outrage at a lack of privacy and the exploitation of users for commercial gain is peaking. In short, Ello is the ethical choice. This is the only reason it now has users, and the only reason it now has money.

Ethics are Ello‘s unique sales point. They are its killer app. Ethics are the product the money is invested in. If that trend continues, we could quickly see a flip towards ethical business models – that preserve privacy and protect users from commercial exploitation – not just in social networks but in all forms of online services that have previously relied on data mining.

Oh, and we’ll be paying for them all directly…hurrah!

(Will ethical services dominate? Who knows. Historically the ethical choice tends to be the third choice. But it’s a topsy turvy world we’re living in!)


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

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