say ello?

Social media = Facebook.

It’s a simple formula that’s true. Facebook irks me because of the blatant monetization of our every thought and keystroke: in exchange we get an inelegant, badly-designed interface and exasperating privacy settings. And yet, everyone uses it.  Google+ is the best alternative but, for the time being, it seems to be used for specific topics or projects, not the amorphous free-association stream of consciousness we all do on Facebook.

Now there’s a new kid in town,, It bubbled up in the news a few weeks ago during Facebook’s ill-advised feud with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and other drag queens.  (It turns out that, as of this weekend, Facebook is still deactivating drag queen-named accounts.) Ello is still in beta and invitation-only, so it takes a little sleuthing to get hooked up with an invitation code.This is their “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.

I’ve been looking at it for a few weeks and it looks pretty good so far. It’s very lonely in there because there just aren’t very many people  around. A ton of features have yet to be implemented and it’s rough around the edges. Overall the site design is attractive and once you figure out the little icons, quite usable. If you’d like to join and see what it’s like, I’m able to provide some invitations. Here are a few invite codes:

  • afterwards-animal-c4e01b
  • growing-loveliest-way-d04548
  • favored-kidgloves-here-13aa73
  • mind-proceed-88bdf8
  • name-advice-whole-toto-5bfa40

To use one of these, go to If you find these codes have already been used, you can send me a message via twitter, facebook or google+. If we’re not associated there, just add a comment to this post and I’ll post some more invitation codes.

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