Ello Ya That's Right
Oooohhhh, Ahhhh... Newwwww right ? Well that's Ello. The idea here is to do an Ello review on how to use Ello (features to get you up and running) and explore some Ello tips that could be useful to all the newcomers that are joining the new social network.
This new social media alternative to Facebook has been growing at a fast and furious pace. We're talking 30,000 new signups per day. Sheesh, that's some activity to make you drool right ? We should all be so lucky. Granted as the would-be challenger to Facebook, they've got a ways to go before they come remotely close to giving Facebook something to be concerned about, but they're off to a great start. Lets just say this, many have tried and many have failed to be considered a meaningful Facebook contender.
The idea that is worth some real thought in regards to this new social medium is that it give it's fans, the curious minded, people looking for a better social alternative and others a network where they are "not" considered to be the product. The anti-facebook mantra of sorts. On Facebook, "you" are the product. Surveys are done on you (remember that emotional study no one knew about ?), animal testing (well close, but not really), invasions of privacy in new features that are quietly embedded in their TOS and a host of other little sneaky things that sends the message that Facebook's interest is not about you or your privacy.. something that no matter how small or large they have grown have continued to struggle with. It has become an advertising platform, something quite a stretch from it's roots and successful beginnings.
Ello's founder, Paul Budnitz, has stated that his network is not about trying to be the biggest one out there or a threat to Facebook.. Ello is really not all about that, but from an outsider looking in, I'm sure they're happy being in the same conversation as the social media giant that is Facebook anyway.
With that said, lets start with how the Ello manifesto comes across to people looking for something different.. something that truly sounds sincere: Ello has a belief in being simple, being transparent and in partnerships with it's users.. truly a paradigm shift in thinking, but one that makes sense in a world of sharing information where companies benefit from who.. they benefit from you as the user. Ello ends it's manifesto in stating very simply.. "you are not a product". Talk about a no fluff way of saying, we care about you and we want you to have a place to go that is free of people trying to deceive you.
Sounds too good to be true and you know what the adage is about that.. things that sound too good to be true usually are, but for the time being, Ello really looks very promising.
Ello highlights their belief in privacy affirming that they do not sell their data to anyone else and that there are controls in place that give you control over "how much" information is shared on their network. You, as the user are encouraged to read the document in it's entirety and Ello reiterates the importance of privacy, their practices and ability to opt-out. I can affirm that I have read the entire document and it is worth your time to read it so that you know what Ello is doing with the information that is on their system as it pertains to you. Having read the document, speaking only for myself, it appears to be very transparent, very straight forward and I am hopeful that they remain this way. It is certainly a breath of fresh air to read a document of importance in straight language that everyone can reasonably understand.
My Ello Quickstart
Now while there are many aspects of Ello to talk about, lets focus on some things to get you up and running once you've received an invitation code. As you can tell, my Ello page (@CandidWriter) is brand spanking new so I've got my full allotment of invites to share. Feel free to send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like an invite code. I can share until my codes have been exhausted and once they're gone, they're gone.
The first thing you want to do is sign up. Choose a name wisely. If you're a business, your brand name is a good choice, but if you aren't, think about a name that best represents something that is important to you. Your name will also become the Ello address you'll give to others.
For example, since I chose the name: candidwriter, my Ello address will look like this: https://ello.co/candidwriter.
Choosing a name on Ello is unique in that you can change your name at any time. What you should be aware of is that once you've changed this, it can be used or taken by another user and the same applies if you were to delete your account. I haven't found that you're limited to how often you can change your name yet on Ello. Make sure that you use a valid email address as this will be used to validate your email account used during the registration process. Very simple and very barebones as far as the information you're required to enter to get access once you've completed the signup process.
The next order of business is to complete your Ello profile. Once you're logged in, you will come to a welcome page (depicted in the photo below) with some information to help you get started. Whoever invited you will be your first friend, there's some brief mention about discovery, friends, noise, settings, wtf (to learn more about Ello) and favorite profiles.
The area that I was most interested in was the settings. Once you click on the settings, you will be able to complete your profile setup. You will notice to the middle of your screen a big circle where you can add your profile image. Not the most common dimensions if you ask me but they want something that is 340x340 and yes, it will get cropped and you probably won't like the result if you're a stickler for a clean perfect image so keep that in mind as you proceed with your upload. Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased that mine turned out alright though.
Additionally there's a section above if you just scroll upwards where you can upload a header image. Again not the most common of dimensions.. 1800x1013 ?? but it is what it is. Either find an image that fits perfectly or just come to grips with the cropping. My image isn't perfect, but I'm okay with the results of the upload either way. It's certainly better than having blank space there. The feature seems a little quirky to me the way it works but maybe that's the way it's supposed to. Maybe Ello will send me some feedback about that if they see this post. The profile section also allows you to enter bio details, links and the ability to view your profile the way it will be seen by others.
I did find the settings and notifications area interesting as well. With respect to settings here's what you'll see:
There is the public profile setting. You can decide whether you want to make your profile viewable to people outside of the Ello network.
There is the comments section. You can decide whether you want others to comment on your posts.
The is the analytics section. You can decide whether you want to allow Ello to gather anonymous information about how you're spending time on the site. Apparently this helps to make Ello better. I turned this feature off, but that's just my personal preference. I may feel differently about this in the future.
In the way of notifications, here's what you'll see:
On comments, you can decide whether you want to receive an email when other users comment on your posts.
On mentions, yes very similar to Twitter, you can tell Ello whether you'd like to receive an email when others mention you in a post.
On new followers, you can elect to receive an email when someone decides to follow you.
On invitations, you can decide whether to be notified when someone accepts your invitation.
The last section of the profile area is on account deletion. I do like that you are in control of deleting your own account. With the click of a button your account can be deleted, but as with any network online, don't be fooled into thinking that your information has not been stored "somewhere". Backups are commonplace for any entity online. What I do not know is how long Ello hangs on to your data even if it is not publicly accessible to you or anyone else. Nevertheless, once you've deleted the account, you will no longer have access to it.
Ello Posting, Commenting And Searching
The next area to explore is how to post on Ello. With it's minimalistic design, there are a few things that you're sure to be unfamiliar with that may lead to some confusion, but the layout does take a little bit to get used to, but once you know what you're doing, it's really very simple.
Assuming you've uploaded your 340x340 profile image, you should see a little dialogue box that says "say ello" as seen in the photo above. Once you click on that box it will expand. You can drag and drop images into it and post text and video links in there as well. Additionally, for all the Emoji fanatics out there, visit this Ello page for all the emoji you can handle. Like Twitter, if you want to mention someone else in your post just use the "@" symbol and their name within the body of your post. I'd also like to mention an observation while posting a few posts of my own on my account. I noticed that you don't get confirmations when you edit or delete posts such as: are you sure you want to edit this post or are you sure you want to delete this post. I would guess that this is something they will take a look at in the near future, but for now be sure when you take action on your post that you're sure you want to do it because there's no going back if you make a mistake.
On commenting to someone's post, you will see three little dots. Just hover with your mouse at the bottom of the post and that's where you'll find the 3 little dots. Click on them and a box will show up and then click on the black box with the persons Ello name on it and you can leave a comment on that post. It's pretty simple and likely to work most of the time.
One last note and this is just how it goes when you join a system that's in beta. If you want to search, you have to go to the discovery page. On that page you will see in big letters at the top "SEARCH", but guess what ? If you type anything in the search box, the system doesn't respond. Needless to say, at this time, the search feature does not work, but since it's beta, new features will be rolling out and so will additional functionality. Search is common with most systems so I would imagine this will be up and running before it comes out of beta.
So there's this strange little feature called "noise". This is Ello's unique way of following people without following them. I think it's kind of interesting. So maybe I don't necessarily want to be friends with a particular person but I'd like to keep up with their updates anyway. This is something that you would do on the discovery page. As depicted in the image below (take note of the words "discover"):
Just click on the discovery icon in the upper left hand part of your Ello page and you'll be taken to the discovery page. Next to each Ello user will be two boxes side by side. One will say friend and the other will say noise. You can choose either option. Once you've chosen it, a red X will appear. You can also unchoose either option if you've made a mistake or changed your mind. Noise is highlighted in "grey" in the photo above ONLY because my mouse was hovering over it.
Well that's your quickstart to Ello. Ello is going to be releasing new features in the coming months, but if you're lucky enough to get in on this new hot ticket, I think you'll find the new social media alternative to Facebook a nice change of pace in it's simplicity. I hope you've found this quickstart review of sorts on Ello helpful and informative. As with any social platform, what you get out of it really depends on what you put into it whether it's for personal use or for your brand. While there is nothing to pay for on Ello yet, it is rumored that a paid option will be coming at some point that isn't as barebones as the beta version is. So stay tuned for that but in the meantime, Ello is pretty cool and I for one, wish them the best of luck in their seemingly very bright future.
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#candidwriter #blog #ello