Ello: Facebook Alternative Isn't for Me... Yet

Ello, the aspiring Facebook alternative, has a lengthy list of features. But the emerging social network also has one big annoying feature: Spammers. They're everywhere. And the want to be your friends.

I joined Ello yesterday after receiving an invite from longtime friend and Tech News Today Anchor Mike Elgan (@MikeElgan). Ello is pitched as a non-commercial alternative to Facebook. The Ello manifesto, taking a shot at Facebook without mentioning that network by name, states:

"Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity, and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.

You are not a product."

Ello Explaining My Interest

Generally speaking, I like Facebook. But I would welcome a commercial-free alternative where I can collaborate and communicate with trusted peers -- without my identity being monetized every step of the way. And so I anxiously accepted Elgan's invite to Ello.

So far, I've got mixed views of the beta network. Sure, it offers a lengthy list of features -- along with the usual "friends" and "followers" metaphors with which we're all familiar. But Ello concedes many of its current features are still buggy. An additional list of key features -- including user blocking and inappropriate content flagging -- is still forthcoming.

And therein resides the problem:  Although Ello doesn't claim to be ready for general release, the beta should have at least included those blocking and content flagging features. So that early adopters such as me gain a warm and fuzzy experience -- instead of spam and slam encounters.

Social pioneers like Mike Elgan are already very active on Ello. But Elgan and others like him will need to navigate all of the spammer-type users who have already infiltrated Ello.

As for me, I'll keep logging in and observing. But I'm not making my voice heard too loudly on Ello. At least not until I have a better feel for the people -- and the spam bots -- that are on the system with me.

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