Hello, Ello


Since my last post was about taking a break for Social Networks, I figured this one should be about the newest Social Networking site.

There’s a scene in the Aaron Sorkin scripted The Social Network where Eduardo tells Mark they should sell advertising on Facebook. It goes like this:

EDUARDO It’s time to monetize the thing.

MARK What were their names?

EDUARDO Did you hear what I said?

MARK When?

EDUARDO I said it’s time to monetize the site.

MARK What does that mean?

EDUARDO It means it’s time for the website to generate revenue.

MARK No I know what the word means. I’m asking how do you want to do it?

EDUARDO Advertising.


EDUARDO We’ve got 4000 members.

MARK ‘Cause theFacebook is cool. If we start installing pop-ups for Mountain Dew it’s not gonna–

EDUARDO Well I wasn’t thinking Mountain Dew but at some point–and I’m talking as the business end of the company–the site–

MARK We don’t even know what it is yet. We don’t know what it is, we don’t know what it can be, we don’t know what it will be. We know that it’s cool, that is a priceless asset I’m not giving it up.

I don’t know if that ever actually happened, but if it did, at some point Mark decided to give it up. Now Facebook is little more than an online ad machine punctuated by links and statuses from the people Facebook has decided you most want to see. Worse, it’s been proven that the ads don’t even work and are a waste of money for companies. Facebook has become a necessary evil for keeping in touch with friends and family. Facebook is simply no longer cool.

Twitter has become the place where you can get news faster than the news on television and where you can follow celebrities amusing quips, but it lacks the personality that Facebook has. Your profile on Twitter simply isn’t very interesting.

Google+ has the problem that it’s trying to do too much and too much of what they’re trying to do seems like Facebook. There’s just not a very good reason to use G+ over Twitter.

I had the thought not that long ago that someone should make a dead simple social networking site that doesn’t have any filters, algorithms, or commercials and just puts up what we want to put up. Of course I don’t actually know how hard it is to do such a thing and luckily I don’t have to find  out because the folks at Ello have done I for me.

Ello’s homepage says, “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. “ Ello is both free of ads and free of manipulation and I’m really hoping they can stay true to this.

Ello is a social network that lets you post whatever you want whether it’s links, images, or status updates. There’s no character limit like Twitter. However, Ello does borrow Twitter’s ‘follow’ feature. This allows you to follow people without waiting for a friend request response. Unlike Twitter, it allows you a simple way to organize the people you follow into two simple categories: Friends and Noise. This makes it easy to put someone you’d rather not constantly see but whom you may want to check up on from time to time into the ‘Noise’ section without them knowing anything beyond the fact that you’re following them on Ello.

Ello is still in the Beta phase. So it’s invite only. Once you’re in, you’re given some invitations to give out, but they are limited. There are still a few bugs they’re working out. Earlier today it wouldn’t let me post and the search feature to find other members seems to only sporadically work.

(Note: As of this writing they’ve frozen invitations to Ello as they’ve reached capacity right now. They expect to unfreeze the invitations soon.)

These sort of things are expected in a Beta and the simple concept and design make up for it.

Unfortunately, social networks are only as good as the population of the network. I recently got my invite and gave out the initial set of invites I had. I intend to post original content there and use the social network whenever I can as I believe we need a viable successor to Facebook. The more people who do the same, the more likely Ello can thrive.

I hope you’ll have the chance and interest to join me. If you do, you can find me at http://Ello.co/jackcameron.

– Jack Cameron


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