In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new social media site in town: Ello. It’s still a baby, just a few months old, and I just got my invite a few days ago from my hubby, Brian Matiash. You can request an invite on their site (left side of the page from that link) … or get lucky and have someone send you one!
Sure, I know what you’re thinking … it’s another social media site. Do we really need more? I’m already actively posting to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+, and have profiles on a few other sites that I don’t really do much with. There is already a lot of noise, notifications, and drama going on, is there room for another one? The short version is that yes, I think there is. Especially for Ello.
The first thing that popped into my head when I saw this was that it was minimalistic. It’s clean and simple. In its manifesto, it sets it apart from other sites primarily by being ad-free. Other sites have started out this way, but Ello is different: it makes it very apparent that it has no intention of succumbing to advertisers. Here’s a little blurb from their manifesto:
“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.”
On Ello, we won’t be products, customers, or data. Instead, we will be people sharing our creations and words with other people. How can you NOT want to be a part of that?
Viewing the Stream: Friends vs. Noise
One of the best features of the site is that you make a simple choice when you follow someone: they are either a “Friend”, or they are “Noise” (much more minimalistic than adding people to dozens of circles or lists). When you click on the “Noise” tab, it displays everyone’s posts (all the people you follow), whereas “Friends” will show you notifications (people who follow you, mentions, comments, etc.), as well as all posts from the people you have designated as a “Friend”. Streams also seem to be “unfiltered”, which means that there are no fancy algorithms to determine which posts you will see, and which ones you will not see (something I personally despise in social media).
So far I have started by adding people I know personally into my “Friends” category, and everyone else into “Noise”. For the most part, I am checking the “Noise” category more than “Friends” when looking for posts, so it’s really just a way for me to not miss posts from my close friends. I’m also pretty certain that the category you put people in is not visible to them, so you don’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. :) But I also suspect that my own way of adding people to these two groups will change over time as the way to view each stream is changed.
Another thing I like about the site is that it’s layout is responsive. On individual profiles, photos will display at a nice, big size! It does seem to display horizontal images a little bit better than verticals (at least on individual profiles, that is … not necessarily in the main “Noise” stream). You can see in Thomas Hawk’s post below how the vertical image on his profile does not fit the image to size vertically. It’s also in a nice mosaic-style display, which I personally prefer. (Plus, no advertisements and other crap on the sides!)
Posting to Ello
Posting is very simple. As of right now, you can only post images and text, and you can do it in whatever order you like. For example, you can add your text above your photo, or below it. When you have text added, you can add bold or italics to your text, too. You can also comment on posts, which is to be expected.
I’m pretty sure that the types of media they will allow will change, along with other potential updates in the future (such as “loving” or “liking” a post, etc.). This site is still in its infancy, as it is still in Beta, and I’m sure that in a few months what I have posted here will already be out of date. :)
Commenting is pretty basic, too. You can mention people (and they get notified), and the newer comments show up at the top of the comment list (no crazy scrolling to get to the latest ones!).
That’s really a good question. As for me, I plan to use Ello a little differently than my other sites. Most of the time, I share the same photo across most (if not all) of my social sites. After all, I have different followings on all of the sites, with some overlap, of course. But I’m encouraged by Ello and their message, and plan to mix it up by also posting my own minimalistic and original content that will only be on my Ello profile.
Overall, it will be interesting to see how this platform develops. Because it will not be accepting advertising, there will probably be some type of pricing structure for users to add additional features. They have a section on the site that lists out the upcoming features (as you can see in the image below) … you can also see it by going to the main site and clicking on “Feature List” at the top of the page.
I’m excited to see where this will lead and how it will fun to watch it grown and develop. I definitely consider myself an early adopter and feel a little late to the party (even though it hasn’t been around for very long). :) I don’t expect this to replace my other social networks, but rather be a nice “getaway” from them … a social media vacation, perhaps? I’m sure I will be tweaking my stream to make it jive with that in mind.