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A Quick Guide to Ello


Ello, you mean another social network?

I know what you’re thinking, do we really need another social network? The new darling is called Ello and was founded by 7 designs and artists from Berger & Föhr Studios. Co-founder, Paul Budnitz isn’t new to startups, he founded the popular Budnitz Bicycles company and the toy designer and producer, Kidrobot.

If you’re not convinced by the need for yet another social network, like it or not Ello is here, and it’s taken the social media world by storm. This is partly down to its sudden growth but more so due to its audacious mission statement:

Your social network is owned by advertisers.

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.

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.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.

You are not a product.

OK, that’s all very well and good, but they have to make money somehow. They have to pay themselves! But they do have a plan… The plan is to charge users for premium features. What those features are, we don’t know, but time will tell. Many in the industry aren’t convinced, but Ello is certainly making itself heard, and it is causing rumblings in the industry. You could call it a “Facebook Disruptor”, although if truth be told, it’s going to take a lot to cause even minor rumblings at the social media Goliath Facebook.

Here is what Ello says about their “freemium” model:

Very soon we will begin offering special features to our users. If we create a special feature that you like, you can choose to pay a very small amount of money to add it to your Ello account forever. We believe that everyone is unique and that we all want and need different things from a social network. So, we are going to offer all sorts of ways for users to customize their Ello experience.
Ello doesn’t have ads | Ello website

If you’ve followed my blog, you may remember I talked about a social network called (you can read about my thoughts here). It was a premium social network (meaning you had to pay to join) but it was add free and promised never to sell your data. It then launched a free plan and eeffectivelybecame a “freemium” service. So, what’s different about Ello? To be honest, it is too early to say. However, one thing is sure (and it pains me to say this), never had enough critical mass in terms of users to become popular. Ello has been struggling to keep up with new sign ups in recent weeks. Perhaps that is the critical difference and could mean that Ello lives on into the future?

Ello Facts

Let’s get down to what Ello is and what it is not:

  1. It is ad-free and always will be (at least according to the Ello Manifesto)
  2. You own your data, and it will never be sold to 3rd parties (again according to the Ello Manifesto)
  3. Ello uses an asymmetrical follow system similar to Twitter. That means you can follow people, but they don’t need to follow you back. The reverse is also true.
  4. Posts can be very long (I’ve yet to determine how long they can be), but you can certainly write a whole article on Ello.
  5. You can post text (with rich formatting and optional links) and images.
  6. When you follow other Ello users you can put them in one of two lists “Friends” or “Noise”.
  7. It’s currently in beta and only open by invitation.
  8. Email alerts: you can get alerted whenever anyone comments on one of your posts, mentions you or when someone follows you.

To Noise or To Friend, That is the Question…

Ello Screenshot

Ello has tried to keep following simple whilst attempting to cut down on noise. If you are a Twitter user and follow a lot of people, you’ll appreciate how noisy your home stream can become. That’s why I use Twitter lists- which allows me to zoom in and keep tabs on the tweets of people I don’t want to miss, whilst still allowing me to zoom out and find the occasional gem in my home stream. To be honest, the two streams don’t need much of an explanation. You put the people you are really interested in hearing from in the “Friends” list and the people who are less interested in, but still want to follow in the “Noise” stream. The person you’ve followed won’t know which list you’ve put them in (in the same way that people don’t know which circle you’ve put them in on Google+).

There is a difference in the layout of the two lists. In the friends stream, each post is on its own line, where as noise posts are shown as boxes with thumbnails.

The Cheat Sheet

When you are writing your posts, you can make them pretty by using bold and italics text, create lists and hyperlinks. It does this by using a kind of “markdown” format similar to Google+. The guys at Green Mellan Media have created a fantastic cheat sheet to help you as well as giving you handy shortcuts:

ello cheatsheet

Want to know Everything about Ello? Try Mark!

Mark Traphagen This article was intended as a quick introduction to Ello. If you want to get all the details, you need to check out the complete guide to Ello by Mark Traphagen from Stone Temple Consulting. Mark has gone into a huge amount of detail, and I think you’ll know everything you need to know about Ello after reading the guide!

Complete Guide to Ello

Invites and please say Ello!

Please do connect with me on Ello. As with most of all my networks, my username is iagdotme. The problem is, you might not have an invite. I’d love to invite all of you, but I’ve only got a limited amount. However, I am giving away a few invites to members of my mailing list. Why not subscribe, and then get in touch and I’ll see what I can do?!


So are you convinced?

Are you fed up with having to get to grips with yet another new social network? Are you just itching to sign up to Ello? Do you think it is going to live on, or die after a year?

If I am honest I really don’t like the layout, but it is still in beta and they’ll be releasing new features and ironing out bugs over the coming months. We’ll just have to be patient!

As always, let me know in the comments below!