Social media is on the rise, as online users for the last few years have drifted toward sites that connect them with other people – whether known or unknown. Making connections online, meeting new people when some individuals work long hours and don’t get out much provides some excitement that enhances their lives. It’s a convenience that many consumers live with, seeing that the bills never stop coming, and their responsibilities never decrease.

At the same time, however, many consumers agree that social media has become a flawed field. Mobile ads have risen to the challenge, bringing more products and services in the faces of individuals who’d rather not be bombarded with these unwanted services and products – and who’d rather not pay to have something removed that they didn’t request initially.

It would be nice if online readers received a little control back into their hands for a change.

And this is where social network “Ello” says “hello.”

Ello: what is it?

Ello is a new social network that was started back in March of this year by author, toymaker, and Budnitz Bicycles creator Paul Budnitz. The site itself wasn’t that attractive to a lot of individuals when it went official, but the main roll out of the site in July started to gain attention with social media users. The site went from 4,000 new signup requests each hour to now over 27,000 new signup requests each hour. This week alone, Ello was searched for 150,000 times on Google’s search engine.

As if the increased demand for Ello isn’t enough, founder Budnitz says that Ello was created with a goal: to become the ideal social network and bring fun back to being social. “Ello is clean and simple and let[s] us connect with our friends and see awesome stuff, without feeling manipulated by a big system that was making social networking no fun,” Budnitz said. Budnitz’s own words explain why the new social network is being labeled the “anti-Facebook” site. Ello’s goal is to be anything other than what Facebook has become.

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Ello is anti-Facebook-like in that it contains no ads. You won’t be bombarded with ads about things that have little relevance to you when you use the social network. Ello doesn’t sell you ads because it doesn’t know your interests. The only way to figure out your interests is to gather data on you. Yes, unlike Facebook’s manipulative algorithm procedure on 700,000 unsuspecting individuals, you needn’t worry about that with Ello.

Oh, and one more thing: there is no “like” button. If you’ve never understood the reason behind why the “like” button became popular, just ask yourself: “why would any social network care about the things I like?” Once you understand the answer to this question, you see that Facebook’s designed its social network to gather files of data about you from the ground up.

There are some things to keep in mind, however, before you visit Ello and prepare to sign up: First, Ello is invite-only, so you’ll have to know someone to get your hands on an invite. Next, Ello allows you to sign up with something other than your original name. The isolated LGBTQIA community won’t face the shame of the Facebook site “kickoffs” because they wouldn’t provide their real names on user profiles. Google has relaxed its Google+ name restrictions as of late, now allowing individuals to use something other than their real names if they prefer. If you want to have your profile restricted to those friends and family that matter most, you can do that as well.

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You can also characterize friends and distinguish them from “noise” (or, people and interests that you don’t care about) on your account. This allows you to not waste time on a news feed with reading stories that you could care less about and makes your social network time on Ello more productive.

Should Facebook be worried about Ello?

Ello still has its bugs, and the invite-only setup is sure to make Ello, a turnoff for people. In this regard, Facebook has little to worry about. Not only can Facebook breathe a sigh of relief over these factors, but Facebook also has a huge user base – and a number of individuals remain with the social network site because of their connections to so many individuals they know and have known.

However, should Ello choose to lift the invite-only and allow users to sign up on their own, and improve the user experience such that videos don’t get deleted when posted (as was the case with one user), then Facebook may have some serious competition on its hands. Some Facebook users believe that Ello couldn’t have come soon enough.