"I feel like they rolled this out a little too soon. They were just so excited about Facebook alienating a chunk of their audience and wanted to fill a void, they thrust this out well before it was ready. Like, thisi isn't Beta Test worthy - it's not that far along."
Nowadays, companies (like Google) open online services as "beta" when they are fully functional, and are beta mainly because they don't want to support them yet.
From a development standpoint, "alpha" is feature-complete (but not necessarily functional) and "beta" is feature-functional, with some bugs to be worked out. Given that there's a number of major features that haven't been put in yet (re-blogging others' posts, blocking users, etc), this ain't beta software.
Regardless of what it's called, I think having a lot of growth and user grumbling is a good thing for ello, since it gives them a lot of buzz, more VC interest, can get stuff done faster, but more importantly, it allows the community to grow organically and show the developers how people are using the platform before it's "set in stone".