Ello, What's This?

Ello, What's This?
By Marie Stewart

Ello seems to be the latest attempt at unseating such popular social networks as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  With its highly designed web pages covered in white space and circles, it reminds me of the mobile game Dots.  Since Dots did so well in its first few months after release, to the tune of 5 million players, it might be that Ello is just a Dots version of Facebook.  Ello, however, does not allow advertising and doesn’t mine your information in order to sell it to anyone.  It allows you to follow people as either “friends” or “noise” and they will have no idea how you sorted them.  This is similar to “circles” in Google+.  Unfortunately, you are not able to block anyone even though Ello claims to be working on this issue and the search function doesn’t seem to, well, function.

So what, exactly, is the appeal?  Because so many users are tired of Facebook and Twitter’s user policies the draw is the thought that maybe this one will be better than the last.  I know I’ve found myself annoyed at all of the advertising and auto-playing videos I’m faced with each time I log onto Facebook.  One tech blog writer even went so far as to say that “Whatever the online version of ‘new car smell’ is, Ello has it.  Look at all the white space, like blank apartment walls waiting for new décor.”  [1]  But shiny and new as it is, Ello is missing some key features.  You cannot like posts, reblog or push them to other social networks.  Videos and emojis cannot be added to posts.  There is no private messaging feature, but who needs another account to add to Trillian?  And, you cannot use the site through a mobile app for iOS or Android.  But, we shall see, some of those features may be added in future updates.

Should you join Ello?  Personally, I’m not one of those early adopters so I won’t be joining anytime soon.  People currently seem to be getting on Ello because their friends are there and have sent them an invitation but there is very little content.  Content, right now, however, doesn’t seem to be the main idea.  The point most users make when they leave Facebook or Twitter is that they are tired of their practices and policies and joining Ello is one way to take a stand.  The only problem is, to really take a stand, you need to leave Facebook and Twitter once you join Ello but hey, I’m sure nobody will tell on you if you don’t.

In the long run, I don’t think Ello will be very successful.  Essentially, it’s just a forum for people to talk about how disillusioned they are with the current options.  Twitter and Facebook should pay attention because those are the rats abandoning their massive ships, that is if they actually leave these social network giants in favor of the new guy.  Otherwise, Ello will just appear as another flash in the pan to the behemoths that are Facebook and Twitter.

[1] Zimmerman, Jess, “What is Ello?  It is the social network of your dreams, and that’s a nightmare” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/what-is-ello-social-network-new-good

Wade Stewart is the Managing Member of Stewart and Son Computer Services, LLC in University Place, WA and serves as a trusted partner to many local small and medium sized businesses.

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