What the hell is Ello, anyway?
I have the hardest time trying to explain to other people what it is, what it's purpose really is. It's a social network, it focuses on creativity (the outer face of which is almost unbearably "slick"), it doesn't have ads (barring recent notification controversy), and it's committed to not selling your data. That's all well and good. But why would the Average Joe or Josephine on the street, seeing this from the outside -- someone who has no problem using Facebook, does not care much about corporations using their data, someone who maybe has a creative hobby, but nothing all that Instagram-worthy -- why would they show up here and, more importantly, stick around?
Ello seems to be too sparsely populated to give the kind of dopamine rush people come to expect from a social network. Someone new who isn't contributing much isn't likely to get 100 views, let alone a wall full of "attabuddies" or "hearts" of approval. Or comments, of course. It seems to be devolving into something more like a hybrid social media/blogging system now. Those of us who stay seem to be doing it on our own terms, and for our own internal purposes.
Ello doesn't seem to be an environment that readily supports external validation, which is what many social media users (creative makers or not) seem to be seeking. Maybe Ello is more for the creative renegade -- the sort of person who does their own thing because they have to do it, not just to present it to the crowd. And yet we're here to do just that: present our work to the small, hopefully appreciative, nearly silent crowd.