Last week, the new social network Ello sparked a tremendous amount of attention with its promise to become the Anti-Facebook. Ello is now receiving 45,000 hourly requests to join, based primarily on a short manifesto on advertising and social media:
“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 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.”
Whether or not Ello becomes a real player, this sudden backlash reveals an undercurrent that is important for all marketers — many people are sick of how advertisers act in social media. That’s because brands typically bring an advertising mindset to social media. I think this is a potential wake-up call that brands need to earn their place in people’s lives.
Ello may be anti-advertising, but it is not anti-brand. Some brands such as Netflix (and ironically Adweek) already have a place there. Ello won’t change the bad habits of brands in social media. At the moment, a Netflix post on Ello is the same as a tweet, but it will be interesting to watch as brands scramble to figure out their identities on Ello and how they communicate in a community that shuns advertising.
Any social network is only as powerful as how you use it. The default mode for brands is to shout louder to gain attention, rather than engage deeper to gain a relationship. This social media backlash creates an opportunity for marketers to question how brands connect with their audiences.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Ello or social media marketing in general.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)