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Published on October 1st, 2014 | by Caleb Bjørnsen


Say Hello to Ello

Ello is the newest social network to hit the block. It prides itself as being the “anti-Facebook”, with it’s pledge that it will never sell advertisements or your personal data. It looks like Ello is targeting those who are less than pleased with Facebook’s privacy policy. The social media network is reporting that it has been receiving up to 31,000 requests an hour from people looking for invitations to join.  People are even selling invites to Ello on eBay for, reportedly, up to $50,000. That’s quite a lot of cash to drop on an invite to a social network that’s still in beta.  It makes you wonder what the big deal is. I was one of those people wondering. I ended up getting my invite, and I’ve been exploring the social network so that I can give you my first impressions of it.

Let’s talk about the design first. The design aspect of Ello is absolutely beautiful. Facebook’s user interface has always felt very clunky and very cluttered, like an orgy of information spewing out of your computer screen. Ello is more akin to Twitter in it’s user interface; it gives you a spot at the top to make posts, and all of your friend’s posts are in an orderly list form underneath that.  It separates who you follow into two lists – friends and noise. The friends section is obviously for friends – people you know and want to keep in touch with. Noise is more of a “who I’m interested in” category – this is where you’d place celebrities and companies you like.  Noise is also in a grid format, rather than Friends’ minimal list format. Ello hits the nail on the head in the design aspect; it’s minimalism at it’s finest.

Now let’s talk about your public profile. This is where Ello differs from Facebook the most and tends to favor Twitter, the popular microblogging platform. The first thing you’ll see when visiting a profile on Ello is the header. User’s are free to add their own header image, much like Facebook. Then you’ll see their username, profile picture, real name, a blurb about them, and their website. This is akin to Twitter’s profile layout. You can also see how many posts a person has made, how many people they follow, and how many people follow them. Again, all aspects Twitter uses. Under all of that information you’ll find your profile picture and a block of text that reads, “say Ello.” This is used as Ello’s communication feature. Ello doesn’t have a private messaging feature. It instead let’s you speak to a person by using their Ello username in a post. And, of course, after that block of text you’re able to see that person’s posts. Now you’ll notice that this differs greatly from Facebook and is more akin to a microblogging platform. You won’t find a person’s favorite bands, books, or movies on their Ello profile. You won’t even find one spot that contains all of the pictures they’ve ever uploaded. All you’ll find is a constant stream of everything they’ve posted – all of their thoughts. Another point for Ello’s amazing minimalism.

That is all the functionality Ello has at the moment. There is also, of course, commenting on people’s posts and discovering new users. I’m hesitant to say that Ello will overtake Facebook as the next big social network. Even the creator of Ello claims that he doesn’t consider Facebook a competitor. I do think, however, that Ello could very well be poised to overtake Twitter as the biggest microblogging website in the world. Only one thing is certain at the moment, and that is that Ello is going to be something big. What exactly that is I’m not sure. I’ll be following Ello’s development every step of the way.

If you have an Ello and can’t get enough of Go Gonzo Journal, I know that both myself and our beloved editor, Anthony Varriano, have profiles on the budding social network.  You can follow me on Ello, @SenofBjorn, and Anthony, @GoGonzoJournal, to make sure there is some Gonzo in your Ello news feed.

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About the Author

Bjørnsen is freelance writer who is far too lazy to actually write. The author of a few unpublished short stories and a halfway finished fantasy novel, Bjørnsen is easily sidetracked when writing. If you're a fan of Bjørnsen's writing you can find more at his blog, Sen of Bjorn. You can also find him on Ello, @SenofBjorn.

2 Responses to Say Hello to Ello

  1. Jeckyl says:

    Would you say it’s worth getting into this social network? I already have Facebook and Twitter but a lot of people seem to be moving to this one. Is it worth it at this point in time?

    • Thompson says:

      I think of it as a way to purge all the people you don’t want to follow on Twitter without going through the trouble of actually unfollowing them. The separation of noise and friends is nice. Allows you to focus conversation amongst friends while still sending mass messages. I don’t share Caleb’s belief that it will be “big,” but it’s a neat concept.

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