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Say Hello to Ello

Friday, January 9th, 2015 by Erin Peters

ello-banner---698x400Any social network that is able to gain global interest and popularity by some Californian drag queens will spark my curiosity.

The animated artists fled Facebook after the giant social network began to impose a “real names” requirement on users. But these smoky eye experts haven’t been the only social-ites that are fed up with Facebook.

Ello was created by a group of artists and designers from the Berger & Föhr Studios who were tired of social networks that rely on users to sell advertising and selling their users’ data to other advertisers.

Users are rushing to join Ello and – at one point – the network was seeing 35,000 sign-ups hourly.

These design-minded owners fueled more interest with their invitation-only membership. A fellow web-minded cohort and I requested account invitations at the same time. When I received mine and he didn’t, we both had to wonder what their selection process was, if any.

Perhaps it’s part of the allure, rolling out the network like a Hollywood club, pulling back the red rope to the “VIP section”.  And admittedly, I did feel a little cool.

It reminded me of using a Mac for the first time as a longtime PC user.

It’s simple, hipstery and so-minimalist-it-hurts. It was almost daunting at first.

When I started poking around and following fellow Ello users, I realized that most of the users were photographers, artists, designers, architects, filmmakers and the like.

It’s like Burning Man digitally exploded on my desktop.

social-ad---ello

 

Did Ello somehow find out that photography was my first love? Either way, I was intrigued.

Soon they’ll be offering “special features” that people can pay for if they’d like to add them to their account. Will it out-social Facebook?  I doubt it.  Not after Facebook has spent billions and have snatched up other services like Instagram and WhatsApp. And I don’t think people will abandon Facebook so quickly after spending years building their moments and connections.

Some can even argue that well targeted ads are welcome (new craft brewery in L.A. you say? Okay, I’ll “like”.). Despite this, Ello is a breath of fresh air.

Here are 15 things you should know about the new social network:

  1. No advertising: the owners pledge that your account data will never be made available to third parties for advertising or commercial purposes.
  2. The site is a platform built for posting and sharing content publicly. Search engines will be able to see the content you post.
  3. Ello is more similar to Twitter and Google+ than Facebook. You can follow any user without having to be followed back, and anyone can follow you.
  4. It’s currently only available on desktop, for another two months. They will release the mobile app in Q1 2015.
  5. You place accounts that you follow into one of two groups: Friends or Noise.
  6. Like Tumblr, you can post photos and written thoughts, long or short.
  7. There is no “like” button. They may roll out their own version, in order to save posts for reading later.
  8. Your username is also your URL, which you can change at any time.
  9. You can view your “NOISE” stream as the same layout as your “FRIENDS” stream. Just toggle your NOISE layout back and forth from expanded to compressed view by pressing Shift—5.
  10. Find the Ello logo, to place on your website here.
  11. The company plans to offer more advanced features in an a la carte fashion. And these features will not likely be free.
  12. Brands can request invitations to Ello just as anyone else can.
  13. Ello now has more than 1 million members.
  14. To create a post, click the black box and start typing. Upload photos by clicking the double window icon just below the gray text box.
  15. Ello’s founders and investors have signed a new charter that prohibits the company from selling user data or ads, and should the company be sold, it would also force the new owners to comply with these terms.

Here’s how to get started:Ello Social Network Infographic

  • Request an invitation:  You can be invited by others. Those who don’t know anyone offering invites can be put on a waiting list for Ello-extended invites by entering their email addresses in the form on the home page.
  • Once you have an invite code, go to https://ello.co/join to create your account.
  • Signing up:  Ello asks you to choose a username, which is also your URL.
  • Click the large circle to upload a photo – recommended size is 340×340.
  • Create a post. Go ahead, upload an unusually large image and write a paragraph or three.
  • Discover: Click on the Discover icon to find interesting users to follow & friend.

Above your friends list, you see a button for adding/discovering friends, one for sending invites and another for settings.

Ello Social Network Friends ListAs of January 7th, the programmers listed some updates (quoted from “Dev Update” in Ello):

  1. Ello should be way faster. We updated some stuff that makes stuff post and update like lightening.
  2. The REPLY ALL button in comments is now only available on your own posts. We did this to prevent Spam as we found a few people overusing this button a bit (shame on you!).
  3. The comment bar no longer has the poster’s username pre-populated. When you comment on someone’s post, they’re automatically notified. If you want someone else to be notified, mention them!
  4. Users can now follow & unfollow the @ello user, which is a running stream of some of our favorite posts from Ello.

 

“We are not trying to compete with Facebook,” Budnitz says. “We see Facebook as an advertising platform. We see Ello as a social network.”

Whether Ello is the next big thing remains to be seen.

Right now, Ello is an escape for people wanting to express themselves on a clean canvas. Social behavior continues to evolve, signaling the need for marketers to grow, blossom and connect in new, different and beautiful ways.

But don’t be fickle. Don’t say goodbye to the other social networks just because the younger, sexier one has come along.  More importantly, understand social behavior by using your interactions to build trust, loyalty and advocacy.

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