To My Ello Friends: A Few Days Into the Experiment.

Some thoughts on @ello

If I recall correctly, the way MySpace got rolling was that they recruited a bunch of lower-tier models and bands in order to make the population seem cool. And that slimy quality never really went away.

Of course, this is probably a premature complaint (is it?), but I fear that something similar might be going on here on ello. In the few days I’ve been here, I feel like there’s tons of stuff flying around that’s really just magazine spreads and and logos… MySpace was once described to me as “an online version of the inside of a teenager’s high school locker.” Now the kiddies use tumblr for that purpose and everyone else uses pinterest: topical passive image consumption and re-posting things that manifest how you want to be seen, by consuming a feed of re-posted crap from a bunch of strangers whom are filtered by topics or genres. Right?

And for now I really don’t want to see runway models and futuristic, laser-accurate post-modern woodcarvings from wall to wall. It actually makes me feel like I’m part of some sort of ‘early adopter’ demographic and I’m being profiled and marketed at. Pretty funny. I put myself here and I’m complaining. But bear with me for a sec.

Once #hashtags are working, and I can actually filter the noise in useful ways, OK fine. But until then, there’s really no value here, beyond the manifesto, unless everyone just shuts the fuck up and talks about what they had for lunch and then uploads a picture of their cat or their baby, while recruiting their ‘real’ friends and family to come here and do the same. Seriously.

The appeal of FaceBook, at least for me (and I suspect the vast majority of people who are not early adopters), is that it doesn’t have to be noisey/quiet if you don’t want it to be. It can be less-quiet/quiet. I know a lot of early adopters are also hustling to promote themselves as the next super-important entrepreneur/influencer/visionary. And I love all those/us people too. But it is a bit ironic to me that everyone flocking to the non-data-mining, non-commercial social software platform (which even has a goddamn ‘manifesto’ for cryin out loud) gets here and and immediately whips out their SEO/follower-collection habbits.

This isn’t going to stick if we can’t get grandma and Joe Blow on here. So I guess what I’m saying is, perhaps we should, as a community of people who are early to this place, think about the potential here, that is, if we decide to steer the status quo of behavior in a constructive direction, acting as an example to the next round of people. Construction problems, missing features, and an unfamiliar interface aside, I know the old ladies I know would bounce right the fuck back out the door if they came to this place and saw what I’m seeing.

I may be sounding like a luddite to you (and to me a bit too), but there’s no way to filter all this content yet. So maybe we should dial back our douchebaggery and think about the ello manifesto and what appeals to us most about it, and what will make that actually happen: Grandma and Joe Blow coming here, along with a few hundred million other people (most of whom live in stupid towns and just have jobs and cats and babies) who are tired of being spied on, bought and sold by Facebook, data-mining companies, marketers Etc. Right?

We’re expecting company! Right?

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