Ello's Halo: Why New Social Networks Get So Much Attention
NEWS ANALYSIS: There's a pattern to how we feel about social networks. We seem to love the new ones and hate the old ones.Everybody's talking about the new social network in town. It's called Ello. And it's billed as the anti-Facebook. Ello promises to never show ads, never collect personal data and never require your "real name." Some fear they'll never make money, either, and wonder if it's worthwhile to invest time cultivating a community in a doomed social network. Gigaom founder Om Malik tweeted: "The obsessive coverage of Ello is less about Ello. Instead, it really is about our growing dissatisfaction with the state of social networks." I think he's almost correct. He implies that over time we've been growing unhappy with all social networks. It seems to me that we grow unhappy with each of them on its own cycle—we love the new ones and hate the old ones.
Of course, he's completely right about Ello, which offers very little to get excited about. Ello has an odd potential that I'll tell you about below. But for now, it's not a serious, functional or entirely usable social network yet. Search doesn't work, so you can't find people. You also can't block people, so it's a troll's paradise. It doesn't have mobile apps. You can't "Like" or "favorite" anything. It's clunky and awkward to use. Hardly anyone is on it.