February 25, 2015
Data mining. According to Nautilus Systems, whom I grabbed this lovely model from, data mining can be defined as follows: Data Mining differs from traditional data analysis in that it discovers patterns that were previously overlooked, as opposed to queries or statistical methods which require the analyst to make an assumption.
It seems as if almost everyone is doing it… governments, Facebook, Twitter… but not Ello. Unlike the aforementioned, Ello has pledged to never make money from ads or from the sale of our data, forever.
That sounds like a dream social networking platform, doesn’t it?! I think so. While we want to interact with our friends–and make new ones–on social networking platforms, we have also agreed to allow them to gather and sell our data. It is a tradeoff. But, Ello is offering us the best of both worlds because not only can we interact with our friends but they are also providing us with a space where we do not have to worry about the company spying on our every like and friend request just to sell that information off to other entities.
The only problem is that Ello is by invitation only. So, we have the opportunity to participate–but not really at the same time. The consequence for doing this is that Ello may not have a long lived digital life. You cannot advertise a service that you believe can change the ethical landscape and then prevent “outsiders” from participating. Those individuals may decide that they no longer wish to participate since they were unable to sign up having not received an invitation the first go around if the platform ever decides to offer them access.
For example: A mother may want to share photos of her children on a social media account so that her out of town family and friends can see how big they’ve gotten or what they dressed up as for Halloween.
Can the mother who does that on Facebook do that on Ello?
Probably not. Her friends and family are probably not on Ello since it is by invitation only–and I am going to assume that you are only allotted a certain amount of invitations. (Remember when Gmail was by invite only?)
There probably will not be any consequences for other social networks because Ello is not widely used. If Ello decided to open up for business without limitations, then other networks may need to worry because I think if many people knew exactly what was being collected (and in some cases, sold) about them they would gladly switch to Ello–the ethical network that promises to not do those terrible things.
How do you feel? Would you continue to use social networking website that were mining your data if you had the option to use a platform that was not going to advertise to you and collect data about you? Personally, If I had the option, I would use Ello because it just seems creepy to have someone (or something) knowing everything that you are doing so much so that they are able to make predictions about you based on their fancy algorithms. I would hope that my friends would also venture over to the platform so we could create our same relationship that we have on the other platforms–but this time have it be more user friendly.
I care what happens to my personal information, so I hope you do the same.
Tags: data, data mining, Ello, ethics, Facebook, invitation, model, networking, platform, social media, Twitter
2 thoughts on “Hello Ello”
I forgot about the invitation-only aspect of Ello — and that Gmail started out the same way. Isn’t part of that designed to cultivate a “cool kid” vibe, where anyone who gets the invitation feels like they’re part of the inner circle? If Ello were to follow Gmail’s example, it would soon open its doors to any and all — quickly enough that the outsiders aren’t turned off for good, but not so quickly that the insiders still get that little frisson of “we were here WAY before you.”
You’re absolutely right that a network with not many people on it is a crucially, possibly fatally flawed network. Ello is already starting several long steps behind the major players like Facebook; you’d think it would want to scale up as quickly as possible. That’s still another reason why I imagine the invitations will fall by the wayside soon.
That’s very true about limiting access so that the users feel “special”. I can see how that would allow Ello users to feel a certain loyalty to the platform. Undoubtedly, if the doors opened for non-users to register, there would be “vets” and “newbs”. Could this cause a division in the user base? Interesting to ponder. I remember using AOL instant messenger and chatrooms back in the 90’s and if you used codewords that another user did not understand it felt earth-shattering. Thinking back about it now, it ultimately made you feel like you were living the scene from Mean Girls, “You can’t sit with us!”
Also by preventing users from openly signing up, Ello is restricting their income since the money they generate is based off of profile enhancements through apps/plugins available for purchase. They are actually preventing their own growth economically and socially.