Over the past week, the social networking site Ello has taken the internet by storm. It remains to be seen if it’ll stick around, but it’s off to a very good start. I’ve spent a lot of time on there over the past few days (connect with me @mickmel) and have been fairly impressed.
What is Ello?
On the surface, Ello is a lot like Twitter in that connecting is a one-way experience; I can follow you, but you don’t necessarily need to follow me back. However, they’ve made images larger than most networks (for better or worse) and have a very clean interface.
The main difference between Ello and others is their stated goal to never have ads on the site, and instead they will charge for premium features at some point in the future. Their manifesto is quite interesting, and hopefully they’ll be able to stick to it. They’ve taken some investment money already, so as things grow it may be tough to stick to those ideals. I hope they can do it.
Ello is a neat place, but it’s clearly still in beta. Their feature list is fairly solid, but it’s missing some key items. Missing items include:
- Blocking/flagging users
- Private accounts
- Private messaging
- The ability to “like” (or as they plan it, “love”) a post
- Video integration
- Mobile apps (though their mobile site is reasonably solid)
The biggest thing you should learn from the list above is that everything is public. You can’t block people, stop them from following you, post private messages, etc. Everything you post is out there for the world to see. That’s not bad, per se, but certainly keep it in mind as you dig in.
So how does it work?
Think of it essentially like Twitter, but instead of simply “following” someone, you can decide if they should go in your “friend” or “noise” bucket. You can put any user into your friends or noise group at any time, or simply choose to stop following them altogether.
The difference between friends and noise is completely up to you. I’ve been putting most everyone into friends, then moving them to noise if I don’t want to see their posts. Others have been using friends for personal friends, and noise for their new Ello-only friends.
Posting content on Ello
The composer on Ello is quite simple, though surprisingly powerful. Here’s how it looks:
However, that little box packs quite a punch. The left-most icon below the gray box allows you to add images to a post, and the editor has full support for markdown, which allows you to do quite a lot with your posts.
Right now, Ello is still invite-only. We have a few extra invitations available between us, so leave a comment on this post if you’d like one and we’ll hook you up.
What is the future of Ello? I have no idea. After extensive use this weekend, I’ve decided that it’s quite awesome but I still can’t get a feel for if it’ll stick around or not. The next few weeks should be very telling; will it keep the intense growth going, or will it begin to sputter out? No one knows for sure, but it’ll be fun to be a part of it either way!