This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.

Over the past week you may have noticed both in the news and on social media a new social media platform called ‘Ello’ which is making some waves at the moment. Users are flocking to the social network which promises to offer people exactly what they want and to be the ‘anti-facebook,’ but will we be talking about it a year from now?

Ello is currently experiencing a viral surge, anywhere between 4,000 to 31,000 people are said to be joining the service each hour. However many people proclaim this to be down to Facebook’s recent changes to naming policy, people are angry at Facebook and are turning to what they think could be the next big thing.

Ello is not new, it launched back in March this year however the viral surge it is experiencing is new and and the moment they are riding on the crest of a wave. The site is currently in beta and is invite only, so it has that level of intrigue because of the element of exclusivity.

Remember when Google+ was exclusive? There was hype which quickly died off when it became available to the masses, so this is nothing new that we have not seen in the industry before. So what exactly is Ello then?

Ello is a simple website which has no adverts and to be honest is heavily lacking in features right now in it’s early beta phase and is somewhere along the lines of a mashup between Tumblr and Twitter. It is image centric and uses large photos in your feed to take up the white space on the screen, but of course you have text posts and statuses present too.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 15.58.25

On the left you have the option to view both friends (people you follow) or you can also select the noise option which is basically everyone else and is to be honest cluttered, poorly designed and kind of a mess at the moment.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 16.02.15

Ello does not come with a guide or instructions, it is taken for granted that you are familiar with social networks and how they operate. Through your own voyage of discovery around the website you will soon discover where everything is and how it works. I would expect some kind of instructions to be in place for the final version though. However should be be stumped with something in the beta, you can click on the ‘WTF’ link in the bottom left of any page on Ello.

At the moment Ello is experiencing the same problems as Google+ did, it is simply a barren land of people you don’t know. For that reason you don’t feel compelled to check it often as you would other social media services like Twitter. As well as that Ello is lacking some basic features such as;

  • Blocking people
  • Flagging inappropriate content
  • Mobile web refinements (it is a bit of a disaster on mobile devices at the moment)
  • Notification centre
  • Video integration
  • An iOS or Android app

These are just some of the key missing features which we are told are in the works but there is no idea on when they may arrive. So what is the incentive to join then?

Well there is the fact that it is ad free and apparently is going to stay that way, however are ads really all that cumbersome? All you have to do is scroll past them, and if you really want an ad free social network then why not join Google+?

Ello says other social networks (read Twitter and Facebook) have turned people into commodities and they are, as Ello explains on its why Ello doesn’t have ads page, “run by and for advertisers. Behind the scenes, armies of ad salesmen and data miners track and record every move you make. Data about you is auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers.”

It is a pretty dark view that they seem to have on other social network services. Ello is a renegade social network flaunting the politics that other social networks before it have put in place. I get it, I understand why there has been a sudden viral surge in appeal for people wanting to try it out.

Ello does little at the moment however it asks for nothing in return, no ads, no extra gimmicks you don’t want and a somewhat hip vibe. However in terms of the overall design, it takes a direct rebuke to the bold colours of Facebook and Twitter a little bit too far, it feels random, monochromatic and just like the shell of a website with no real body to it.

You can’t build a social network out of rage in an attempt to be the ‘anti-facebook’ or whatever platform they may try take a stab at next, and you definitely can’t build a social network on a less is more principle.

I could be wrong about Ello but my gut feeling is that there is just not enough to sustain it as a viral social network. It will grow over the next few months and people will talk about it from sheer curiosity, but will we be talking about it a year from now? My gut reaction is no.

About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis, he is also a proud father of his bearded dragon, Lola. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here.

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