And now, here we are toward the end of October, and my Ello feed is practically a ghost town. What’s more, at least among the early adopter and social media crowd in Vancouver, talk about Ello has ground to a halt too. It’s funny, really, because even in those early weeks of Ello, the majority of chatter about Ello was taking place on Facebook and not on Ello itself.
If you’re not already familiar with Ello, I put together a quick guide on John Chow’s blog and you can have a quick read-through there. The fundamental idea is that this social network would offer an incredibly clean interface with no advertising whatsoever. The business model instead calls for premium paid features in the future. Users who wanted access to these features would pay a few bucks for them.
And this seemed like a rather brilliant idea, given the rise and increased acceptance of microtransactions in all of our other digital dealings. I’m sure there’s some substantial venture capitalism going on here too. At the same time, I’m not convinced enough people would pay for these premium features, just as I’m not convinced people would pay to use Twitter or Facebook or YouTube.
These days, the only chatter I ever hear (or read) regarding Ello is about how it’s dying. But we could all be utterly and completely wrong.
Six years ago, I commented that Facebook was dying. It started out as a “clean” social media platform that went sharply against the flashiness of MySpace, but now Facebook is itself bloated with ads, apps, and controversial news feed algorithms, not to mention the persistent concerns over privacy. And yet Facebook continues to be the de facto social network for many people. Even Google, with its massive existing user base and mountains of resources, can’t get the average Internet user to care about Google+. How on Earth can Ello compete?
I don’t know. We can’t ever know. What I can say is, whether this ship floats or sinks, you can follow me on Ello (@michaelkwan) and we’ll embark on this uniquely online social journey together.