So according to the BBC 31,000 an hour are requesting invites to ELLO (no, not ELO, although joining Jeff Lynne’s band might have been a better idea)…”Social media network Ello is currently receiving up to 31,000 requests an hour from people wishing to join its platform, its founder has told the BBC.”
For those not geeky enough, Ello is the latest ‘new’ social network/platform trying to muscle in and capture those who have lost interest or faith in Facebook, Twitter and Google plus (and let’s be honest even Google is losing interest in that one)
Ello is currently in beta (more like alpha if you get in) and its USP is that it will be a no ads, no selling your data social network. Nice idea, especially if you have large pockets. In reality, unrealistic. The founders aim to accomplish this by having micro payments for some functionality. Yes. Remember App.net ? No, didn’t think so, it was a paid for twitter. Very nice, but ultimately pointless. People are used to free. As Metallica once said, sad but true. Yes, some people do pay for the premium version of apps but most don’t. Most folks understand that you don’t get something for nothing and the deal you’re making at the crossroads is that Facebook, Twitter is going to try and push your notion of ‘privacy’ as far as it can to get you to share as much personal data as you can that it can then sell on to make money, in part to provide the platform you’re using. If you really don’t like it, don’t sign up or delete your accounts. It is that simple. The privacy/data protection freak inside me hates Facebook and Twitter and G+ but I’m still there, as they all provide convenient means to interact with different groups of family and friends.
But back to ‘you had me at Ello’.
“Simple, beautiful & ad-free.”
Hmm, beauty, the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder, and this is certainly the case here. If you like sparse, black, white and grey and a none intuitive UI then yes, this is simple and beautiful. If you’re a normal person, it’s neither.
It really is an Alpha not a beta product. I could run though a huge list of what is wrong with it, but I don’t want to be kicking a beta product that might come good – I hope it does, and I’m REALLY trying to use it and get some conversations going, truly I am, BUT…
Basics for any kind of social network is the ability to know when someone has mentioned you or responded to something you’ve written – on the site – not just in an email. Currently that doesn’t happen. You need to actually manually look at posts and see if there is a number by the hard to see grey comment icon, or wait at least an hour before it will appear in your ‘friends’ timeline – which you need to keep refreshing. Even your own posts may take up to that amount of time to appear in your own timeline. That is how slooooooooooow ello is . At the moment it isn’t a social network it is an antisocial network.
They really need to shut up shop and let no-one else in at all until they have something that might make people want to stay – virtually everyone I know who has gone in so far, has already gone back out and are not planning on coming back. Why? partly, the one reason I’ve mentioned and partly because they don’t see what its USP is. Sorry, but if ‘ad free social network’ is it, that is not actually enough.
Why should this be somewhere I want to go and interact? I’ve seen a few people comment on the site that they just don’t get what it’s for. Not getting ‘it’ is fine. Most people didn’t ‘get’ Twitter at the start – look at it now – but they kind of knew what the purpose of it was supposed to be.
There is also the question of whether we actually need ANOTHER social network? Even one with lofty aims? The ‘success’ of Google + would suggest not and if there was a need it would quite literally have to be Facebook without the ads/data selling – that’s what most people actually want. I don’t think they want a mash up of Live Journal, Tumblr and Twitter.