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On Joining a Social Network

Blog

On Joining a Social Network

Sean Wright

I've just joined a new social network. Let me just say: Allo to Ello. You can find me there under the usual moniker. 

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A few moons ago, I bid adieu to another social networking platform. Part of the reason was the stance that that network had taken towards matters I hold dear: privacy being front-and-centre of those. Part of the reason being the drain that so many of the connections had on that most precious of resources, namely, my time. 

For a while—and to get my fix of social networking, something that has become more and more widespread in the intervening time since my departure—I toyed with joining Google Plus to connect more widely with some people. I decided against it, as it became more and more apparent that some of the reasons I had disliked Facebook had infected that network as well.

In the intervening times, there have been blogs, Instagram and ten-thousand tweets (I swear I just blinked and I hit that figure) amongst some of the mainstays, such as Flickr, which resolutely refuse to die. 

And now: I say Allo to Ello. It is an interesting experiment, a manifesto that seeks to differentiate on ideological grounds from the competition. I, for one, welcome it: the panache that the Google catch cry "Do no evil" has been betrayed. It's not that I necessarily think Ello is the "one ring to rule them all"; quite the opposite in fact: I don't expect it to stay true to its' manifesto, declarations or hostage-taking. More clearly, it is part of a greater realisation that privacy is not incompatible with the idea of sharing, networking or gossiping.  We have always had the choice to drown in the noise and participate in circuses and circles of our choice. Now we have a growing momentum that people are prepared to try new things and vote with their feet in terms of how they live their online lives. 

With so many people apathetically to having their own distinct webspace, social networks and microblogs offer the chance to participate beyond the boundaries of say, e-mail, or the big providers. This sentiment shows that as much as monetising and the corporatising of platforms, there are innovative disruptions just over the horizon that may yet compete for our valuable time. And to my mind, that is a very good thing—I say Hello to the death to complacency.