…wonders Deutsche Welle
As inviting as Ello seems, its main lure is basically that it isn’t Facebook. There are plenty other privacy-aware alternatives, though, and many offer features that Ello doesn’t (insert snipe shot about the service’s bare-bones functionality here).
The IndieWeb movement are working on several individual projects that communicate across domains, servers and networks, using open standards rather than fenced communities.
Make no mistake, just because everybody you know is on Facebook, it’s still just one website, and a closed-circuit one. The protocols used by IndieWeb projects like Known allow any user on any (enabled) site to connect and interact with any user on sites that has the same protocols running. You know, like you can send emails to anybody with an email address.
It’s basically a continuation of the federated social network initiatives I wrote about a few years ago, but where platforms like Diaspora failed to become the big shiny Facebook Replacement, the IndieWeb approach is that the platform you use (like Ello, or Known, or your WordPress blog) is less important than the underlying ability to interact with other sites.
To me it seems that Ello has been sort of randomly selected as the latest Big Shiny Replacement, and although the founders have the best intentions of maintaining their users’ privacy, when all is said and done, Ello is just another data silo. Just another Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr, where you’re locked into somebody else’s network.
Oh, I did say that another pillar of IndieWeb is the ability to own your data? Well, it is. Known has launched its own service, open for registration without invitation (hint!), but like most other IW projects it’s available to install on your own server — or your web savvy admin friend’s server, if you’re uncomfortable with the technical side.
So I’m scratching my head at the rush to join Ello when the IndieWeb offers projects like Known that can do not only what Facebook can (or, like Ello, less) but in the long run promises even more, as it adheres to standards that will make social networking across domains as commonplace, secure, and private as email.