12 min

Some Ello thoughts - Sep - Oct 2014

(my Sep 29, 2014 comment at ToledoTalk.com with minor corrections and/or additions added below)

If you know someone who already has an Ello account, then you can request an invite from that person. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until Ello gets around to handing out new invites.

They intentionally slowed down new sign-ups because of the crush of new people over the past week. You can still request an invite through its website, but it could take days or maybe weeks before you gain access.

These are the pages of the Ello founders/creators

Excerpts from their https://ello.co/manifesto

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.

I'm guessing that's based upon an old quote that goes something like this:

"If you aren't paying for something, then you're not the customer, you're the product being sold."

Ello in a couple different forms has existed for months, but the creators did not expect it to blow-up with interest like it has recently.

Ello is VC-backed by a whopping $435,000. The site is a bit raw from a feature and design standpoint, but it's only a few months old. Users have no patience anymore. Give the site more time, like a year or two.

Facebook launched in February 2004, but it did not open to everyone (age 13 and over) until September 2006. Medium.com opened in September 2012, but it remained in some kind of invite-only or private beta stage for more than a year, and it has very slowly rolled out features over the past two years, and that slowness to introduce new features was intentional.

Many people who joined Ello in the past few days want Ello to look and function like other social networks, which is probably the opposite of why Ello was created.

To stay ad-free, Ello will probably charge a fee to use the site, which is good because we pay for a lot of things. I see no problem with charging a fee for an unfiltered, ad-free stream of postings.

Over the past week many people in the tech media and among the A-list web writers/blogger have looked silly with their scathing remarks about Ello.

These same people will champion diversity with other aspects of our culture, but they are the first to rip anything that's new and different.

I've read multiple stories by these ankle-biters who have authoritatively stated that Ello will fail. So I guess there's no point in the Ello founders to continue. They should shutdown the website.

And what's the definition of a successful social network? For the hard core tech writers, they might define success as having at least 500 million users. But maybe Ello founders are okay if the site "only" has 50 million or 5 million users. Maybe the Ello founders are not interested in growing a company that contains thousands of employees. Maybe they are simply different.

For some bizarre reason, many tech stories have used the word "mysterious" to describe Ello. I guess these journalists just copy each others writing.

Many people also compare Ello to Diaspora, which makes no sense to me. Diaspora is an open source app that you install to create a decentralized network. Ello is a closed, silo that hosts your content.

The tech media claims that Ello is no Facebook killer. No kidding. Maybe I missed it, but I have not seen any of the Ello founders say that they intend Ello to be a Facebook killer. One Ello founder said Ello is anti-Facebook, but that's not the same as a Facebook killer.

The hard core tech geeks rip Ello for its bad design and lack of features. No mobile app. No API. No RSS feeds. No like button. No this and no that. Blah, blah, blah.

From the Ello feature list page: "Ello is in beta."

I like the look of Ello because it is different. I've been reading it fine on my iPhone for the past few days. The font is a bit smaller than I would like, but again, the site in only months old.

Maybe the Ello founders created Ello for normal people and not for geeks who want an API.

Nobody is forcing anyone to join Ello or to give up their other social networks.

Ello founder Budnitz said it well:

"If you don’t like what we’re doing, then please delete your account and leave."

Many people may find Ello more useful than Facebook, which should be okay to do. We have different tastes.

Sep 25, 2014 WaPo story

Ello, a social network where real names are not required. Its founder, Paul Budnitz, told Betabeat the Web site rolled out in July.

Ello caught on with the LGBT community after Facebook recently disabled the accounts of some drag artists who used their performance names on their profiles instead of their “real” names.

Ello users


Another TT comment

Sep 29, 2014 tech story, this time at Mashable, titled Ello Is No Facebook Killer.

As with most new social nets, no one I really know is on there.

So what? That's a bonus point for Ello.

It’s not a news feed like Twitter ...

Another bonus point for Ello. I don't understand why these dorks want Ello to function like existing social networks. I'm guessing that one reason the founders created Ello was to create something different.

It isn't as edgy and varied as Tumblr and also lacks that platform's smart Like and reblog system.

And maybe the Ello founders did not want to create a Tumblr-like system.

[Ello] has photos, but if you really love imagery, why not just join Google+?

People laugh about how it’s dead and useless, but Google+ is actually a much more powerful social network with far better photo tools than what you’ll find on Ello.

Perhaps the best reason to join and use Ello is that it’s ad-free, [except] that’s actually a terrible reason. But if you really need an ad-free social network, try Google+.

Maybe some people don't want to share info on Google. Or what's wrong with using more than one social network for different reasons?

I get it. Ello is a renegade social network that flaunts the conventions of all who came before it. It does a lot less than any of them, but never asks for a thing in return. No ads, no extra features you don’t want (they will let you pay for some you really want) and an overall hip and a friendly, be-who-you-want-be vibe. My perspective, though, is there isn’t enough in Ello to sustain it as a vibrant social network.

"If you don’t like what we’re doing, then please delete your account and leave." - Paul Budnitz, one of the Ello founders

Ello has existed for only six months, but these tech dweebs compare Ello's current feature set, which changes daily, with services, such as:

  • Facebook that started in 2004
  • Twitter that started in 2006
  • Tumblr that started in 2007
  • Google+ that started in 2011
  • Medium that started in 2012

Facebook, Twitter, and Google are multi-billion dollar companies with each employing thousands. Yahoo! purchased Tumblr for about one billion dollars.

Medium is the smallest of that lot, but the founder of Medium also co-founded Blogger and Twitter, so if Medium ever got desperate for funding, it could find some.

Early this year, Ello received $435,000 in seed funding. And not many people currently work on Ello. So it seems silly to compare Ello to those other properties.

Despite the snarky (and maybe envious) tech writing, I'm guessing that the Ello founders will continue to work on something that they enjoy. How is that bad? And if Ello finds a small but loyal audience, how is that bad?

Excerpts from a Sep 27, 2014 post by an Ello investor:

It’s been interesting to see all the discussion of whether the goals of ello are compatible with the goals of their investors. Since my goal is simply to support great founders, I think there’s no issue.

I’ve always been one to invest in people with great ideas who put their users first and are looking to make the world a better place. That’s why I’m a small investor in ello (our fund invested about 9 months ago).

We were at that time and still are fully aware of and committed to the manifesto ( https://ello.co/wtf/post/manifesto ). In fact, I remember it being the first thing they showed me.

Anyone that [has] worked directly with us knows that we never pressure exits. We're long term investors and we fundamentally believe ello's vision and beliefs are good for the world.

Excerpts from a Sep 28, 2014 post by one of Ello's founders.

The day we set out to create Ello, we stapled three photographs on the wall of our studio.

1) Dieter Rams: Less but better.

2) Captain Kirk: Because there are no nested menus on a Star Trek communicator.

3) Kurt Cobain: Fuck you. Who says we can't?

I can't count the number of jaded, stuck up, seen-it-all, start-up smart-ass types that told us that we could not do it.

You cannot create something truly new by competing.

That's the long, dry, empty road to nowhere where know-it-alls spend their lives. Instead, we create naively, acting as if nothing in the world existed before us, and that nothing will continue when once we're done.

Ello is built to be the network that we ourselves want to use.

Sep 30, 2014

More dumb comments.

I think only one comment made sense. The rest lacked logic.

Why are the Facebook fanatics so defensive about their preference for Facebook? These people have some insecurity or paranoia issues. Nobody is claiming that people have to stop using Facebook forever.

We watch multiple TV stations. We listen to multiple radio stations. We read multiple news sites. We may root for more than one sports team. Etc.

What's wrong with using more than one social network and using each for something different?

Oct 1, 2014


Lack of Thought

The whiny Ello critics continue to use Ello. Why? Their words are not stopping new people from signing up.


The whole purpose of Ello, from the founders' perspective, is that there's no advertising because over on Facebook, you are the product. That's a fairly simplistic view of things, but even if it's true, I'm just fine with that.

He's fine with targeted ads. And many people feel the same way. Okay. Got it. So why dismiss the founders' anti-ad view as "simplistic?"

Another view by https://ello.co/danyork:

I just compared Facebook, Ello, Twitter, and Google+ here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dKOIqP0uHSPoKOWXt70wdhmtFcWMOcffbMSjhLcQMbA/edit?usp=sharing

Over 50 comments in that thread, and not one person suggested adding the following info to the comparison list, which would add context and make the comparisons more legitimate.

  • year the service launched
  • stock market symbol
  • company valuation
  • number of employees
  • purchase price

The comparison list also contains Tumblr, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Ello in its current form has existed since July or August. Two to three months ago. It began as a private network in 2013, and it changed in 2014.

Scoble also wrote about his new iPhone6 Plus.

The hot new thing in my life isn't really Ello. It's my iPhone 6 Plus. I am just in love.

The camera is awesome. The screen is even better. Battery life has improved for me (not by enough to really gush over, though) and audio quality on calls is WAY better.

He'll probably replace his iPhone 6 Plus in a year when Apple introduces new phones. The hot new thing won't last long. But Ello will probably continue for more than a year. It already has to some degree.

Scoble writes about his iPhone 6 Plus:

The 6+ has some disadvantages, to be sure:

It's still buggy. Wifi is still giving me trouble. Apps are still barfing, particularly Facebook. Facebook also has fonts that are way too big. I can't wait until they do a real redesign and debug of that sucker.

It's a PAIN to carry around. ... you gotta hold it in your hand. Just doesn't feel comfortable in my pants and, to be honest, I'm scared of bending it.

If you are an early adopter type and can put up with a little pain I say get it. Most of the bugs will be fixed in a few weeks.

He's in love with a buggy, uncomfortable device. Apple has existed since the 1970s, it's worth mega billions of dollars, and it employs thousands of people.

Apparently, Facebook's app on the iPhone 6 Plus is wonky. Facebook has existed for over 10 years, worth billions, and employs thousands.

Early adopters should suffer through the pain because bugs will be resolved in weeks.

But Scoble dismisses Ello. He thinks it's legitimate to compare Ello to other mature services.

Ello has little money, and a small staff of people building it. Why not suggest early adopters wait a few weeks for Ello bugs to be resolved and new features to be added like with the iPhone 6 Plus and Facebook's mobile app?

I believe that many people disliked Ello simply because Ello existed. They dismissed Ello before they tried it. Once in Ello, they continue to use it to convince others that they don't need Ello. Bizarre. Not open-minded, but they pretend to be.

#ello - #socialnetworking - #media - #moronism - #blog_jr

By JR - 2299 words
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