I wrote something about Ello for Gigaom, which is here if you're interested. Here's a couple of excerpts:
I’ve been kind of fascinated by Ello since it launched, in part because it seemed to attract a substantial group of users in my social network over a very short space of time — much more so than other networks like App.net, a previous attempt at replacing Twitter with a more open platform. Why is that? I think my friend Om put his finger on it when he said that this frenzy of interest says more about people’s dissatisfaction with the current networks than it does about Ello.
As I said when Ello first arrived, I kind of like the fact that it’s hard to use and doesn’t really work properly most of the time, and is filled with a lot of weirdos and cranks. It reminds me of when blogs were new — before they became giant media entities that had to toe the bottom line — or when Twitter had just launched and didn’t work most of the time, and the only people who used it were geeks and nerds.
I remember something that Microsoft researcher danah boyd said when Chatroulette first came out, and people were complaining about how it seemed to be just random people displaying their genitals to strangers — which was undoubtedly true. But boyd said that despite all that, she kind of liked it because it was so anarchic and weird, and reminded her of when the whole web was that way.
As Nathan Jurgenson suggested in one of his posts, one of the good things about having a brand new network with new features and new requirements — especially one where you can’t just connect with Twitter and duplicate your existing social graph — is that you have to start from scratch. And maybe by doing so, you reconsider some of the decisions you made on other networks, whether it’s who to follow, or what you choose to share, or even how to behave.
I love these moments of new social media when conversation explodes, moved to imagine how social media can be different, questioning core assumptions instead of just fretting and complaining -all before this paint even dries. That complaining is important, and we’ve done some righteous complaining about Ello already, but I’m embracing this brief, and especially pronounced, moment of imagination.
Will Ello still exist or be useful to large numbers of people a year or two from now? Who knows. I certainly don’t; I thought Twitter would disappear in a matter of months, and look where it is now. But new things like Ello are interesting — if only because they force us to think about how the social web works, and provide a tantalizing glimpse of what might be possible if they worked differently.