October 04, 2014

No Warm Hello for Ello, the Newest Social Platform in Town

Have you signed up for the invitation-only network, Ello? You’ve probably heard about it, what with your friends saying it’s the next Facebook. Maybe it’s because of these great expectations that I’m not really warming up to Ello.

ElloSorry, Ello, there’s no warm hello to you coming from me – at least, not right now.

To be honest, I’m not exactly looking forward to managing yet another social network, as I shared with David Wales on Google Plus. David, by the way, is a programmer studying at the University of Canberra.

Ello feedbackShameless plug: Add me up on Google Plus. It’s where smart conversations happen. (Ello, look away. Sorry, Facebook.)

5 Things I’m Looking for (But Didn’t Find) at Ello

Let’s not waste your precious time. Here you go: the five main reasons I’m not giving Ello a warm hello just yet.

1. Navigating Ello feels like navigating unchartered territory – the type where you’re likely to find pirates.

lost in Ello

A few minutes into Ello and you’ll probably ask this question at least once: How do I go back to my own page? You can always type your vanity URL in your browser, but tell that to a programmer and he will give you a lecture on why that’s a symptom of bad design.

Or maybe Ello isn’t all that bad. Maybe it’s just a baby that needs to grow. Until it does, I can’t say I’m happy with it.

2. Searching for friends on Ello is like searching for unicorns.

Ello search

So your friend finally takes you up on your Ello invitation and he wants you to add him to your list. You click on the search function and type his name, only to come up with this many results: zero.

Wait, what? What’s going on? Unfortunately, the search function is not always functional. Maybe it’s yet another flaw that the Ello folks need to figure out.

Whatever’s going on under the hood, the search function definitely needs to do a little soul-searching. Seems to me that if there’s anything lost, it’s the search function. Maybe it can’t find its way through all the HTML5?

3. Ello can be a real bully when it comes to changing your profile picture.

Ello photoYou want to upload an avatar using your phone? Good luck.

Ello looks awesome with its minimalist features, but just try uploading a profile photo using your mobile phone and you’ll want to go back to Facebook.

That’s because a photo has to be exactly 340x340 pixels for Ello to swallow it whole. Honestly, how many people have an app on their phones that allow them to resize a photo with exact pixels in mind?

End result: I signed up for Ello a couple of days ago, but uploaded my profile photo just now. (Thank you, Photoshop, for existing.)

4. Ello is not mobile-friendly.

If it’s not going mobile, it’s not going anywhere. You can quote me on that.

We have shifted seamlessly from our trusty laptops to our more portable mobile phones. We surf the net in bed, on the couch, while taking a dump in the toilet – all thanks to our mobile phones.

So what happens when a new social network comes along and navigating it using a mobile phone feels like solving a jigsaw puzzle? We wrinkle our noses in disappointment.

Swipe to the left and you’re brought to your friends list. Swipe to the right and you find yourself in the – wait, what just happened? Where are you now, exactly?

Ello makes even the most social techie feel a little lost at one point. And it’s not something that goes away with time, unfortunately. The longer you dig in Ello, the deeper the hole you’re in.

5. Features that are coming soon aren’t coming soon enough.

Blame my impatience on my attention deficit. Or blame it on how Ello is so bare-bones at launch. Your call.

Ello promises to bring us more features, such as Take one look at the features list and you’ll see many features still not available.

Ello appHow soon is soon? We can’t wait.

Anyway, we can look at this from an optimist’s point of view: At least, these features are coming. But just when I start being all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about Ello again, I notice one thing: the iOS and Android mobile app is at the bottom* of the list.

*Thanks to David for pointing that out. Let’s hope the list is not arranged according to priority.

Ello, Anyone There?

Don’t be too surprised if people are still complaining about Ello. Don’t be too pissed, either. It’s not like we hate having another social network to manage. (Okay, we do, but that’s not the point.)

The point is, we want more from Ello. We want to be hopeful about what just might be the next big social network, which is why we want to make sure they know what we think about their platform this early.

Add me up!

And if you’re in Ello, we might as well be friends. I’m on Ello – add me up! Who knows? Maybe Ello is in better shape by the time we exchange hellos.

Ello developers, it’s time for you to step up to the plate! Once all the kinks have been ironed out, I’m sure you’ll receive the warm hello you’ve been craving for since you started sending out exclusive invites. (Nice marketing ploy to get people to actually want to join, by the way.)

Kudos to Ello for promising never to allow advertisers to rule the platform. (Yeah, we definitely hate ads. I’m looking at you, Twitter and Facebook.)


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