Fifty years ago, the future was going to be full of technology, it would make work simpler, mundane tasks around the home would be automated and there was serious talk of people working only two or three days a week, having their time freed up for the important things, friends, family, home life and so on.

That cannot be said better. Unfortunately, that was before the distopian sci-fi take over; after Gibson, things have changed.

Instead, technology has enslaved us. We work harder, longer for lower wages, pensions and benefits.

Truth again, but I'm experiencing this, I've heard this already. I would be very interested on ideas to get away from this, to solve this instead of pointing it out.

People aren't designed for written communication [...]

This is not entirely true. There are certain areas and times, when there is nothing wrong with written communication. IRC is a good example of this, but I would add, that knowing those people for real, as in having met them in person makes a big difference using these systems.

The real story of Ello, is not yet another silly idea, under-thought and over-funded, but that it might provoke us to look at how we live our lives and decide to switch off smart devices. It's the smart thing to do.

It may very much be the smart thing to do, but it indicates more then this:

  • it indicates people are fed up not being able to use alter-egos online, that they always have to behave, to care about what they say and how they say it. It's incredibly unhealthy that recruiters are able to look at Facebook profiles which was intended to be private, share with friends only.
  • it indicates that people want smaller communities, exclusive, invite-only communities. They do not want to be part of a faceless mass anymore but part of much, much smaller groups.
  • and it also indicates, that people would mindlessly jump on anything that looks different.

Altogether I believe the Ello-phenomenon is an early indicator that the internet is looking for it's core, for it's roots, to be free and a bit faceless, nameless again.

[...] and if anyone can get a version up that treats users with even slight respect, it could join the other internet greats, like Altavista or Psion.

And you just made my day by mentioning those two :)