Briana Morgan said: "You should do another post about how Ello can help writers. I'd like to get back into it."
Ello, Ello, Ello. The new sprig on the social media field. The splash of news, the initial stampede of everyone running and signing up and trying it about 5-6 months ago (I wrote a post back then), and then the waining interest, the dwindling participation, and now forgotten by many who tried it but cherished by those few who stayed and growing with the help of a new crowd that has joined it later. Why?
Well, like all new things, it requires some learning curve and understanding as to why you would spend your precious time learning it all. Isn't there enough social media outlets where we writers have to stick out necks and be visible to, you know, market the shit out of our books? And how is this one any different from others? (Besides, if you read about Ello online, you're bound to come across some not very favorable articles.)
What's about to follow is my assessment of what I have tried on Ello and how it works for me, and why. It might work for you, it might not. Try things. Trust your gut. So what if there are people bitching about this that and the other? People always find a reason to bitch about something. Come up with your own opinion. If you know what your opinion is, you don't need to listen to others. So do it. Don't be afraid to experiment. If it doesn't work for you, try something new. But let me tell you this.
I LOVE ELLO.
It fits me like a glove.
- Ello has no ads. Ads are dead. The idea behind ads is dead. They will keep existing for a while, but their nature will change from attention grabbing to asking permission and building community. I'm willing to pay for extra features and never see another ad in my life.
- Ello is beautiful and clean. I'm a snob when it comes to typeface and the pristine whiteness of my screen. And the cleanliness of Ello makes me want to post there.
- Ello has a ton of art. Every day I go on, I see something beautiful. A poem. A photograph. An animation. A song. It's inspiring.
- Ello takes your feedback. It's still in Beta, and if there is anything in particular you want to see, talk directly to the team, discuss, participate. Could you do that on Twitter or Facebook?
- Ello gets me. People on Ello get me. They get my love for gorgeous pictures, for cool book covers, for awesome art. I can actually talk to people about art the way I talk to myself in my head. I want to discuss the nuances of colors on my book covers. I can't quite do it anywhere else.
Now, there are a few things you need to know before diving into it.
- It's not passive, it's active. You can't just "like" a post. You either comment or not. Which is true the other way around too. Your posts won't get "likes," but you will see the number of people who saw it. And I like this. No lazy "liking," but real conversations.
- Images work well. Just because I'm into visual representation of my writing (I create Pinterest boards for each book), it works well for me. If you post only text all the time, it won't be as visible, so add images.
- Don't quit. It doesn't have as large an audience as Twitter or Facebook, so don't expect any interactions at first. But don't quit. Post daily, talk to other people, and join communities, which is really what will help you find people who share your interests. And it just so happens that...
- I lead the writing community on Ello! We're about 700 people and growing. So join us, tag @ellowrites in your posts (writing excerpts or need for a critique or anything else), and I will select and repost them for everyone to see. You can ask for feedback, beta reading, or simply introduce yourself to connect to other writers and readers.
- Don't give up on your other platforms. Test the waters and see what works for you. I never got into Tumblr, for example, though I know many writers love it. It just wasn't for me. Ello appeals to my aesthetics which are a product of an architectural education. I'm a design snob. I love it for its minimalistic perfection. But I won't give up on Twitter, after I almost did. I can't abandon you, those of you who are there and not on Ello. Where you talk to me, I will always be. As long as you talk to me on Twitter, I will be there.
- The mobile app is coming. This is one thing that holds most people back—most people who told me they tried it and quit. I post on my phone via a browser, although it's not ideal. I think the app should be done soon, and that's when I think it will be much easier for you to use it and make posts, especially if you're on the go.
I love Ello for being a community. It's a community of great people who believe you have a choice. A choice to post under any name you want (as oppose to Facebook's policy to use your name). A choice to post anything you want, naked pics of yourself if you want to (you can change your profile to NSFW on Ello). A choice to remain private (all your tweets and Facebook posts are crunched for data to serve you more ads that you don't want to see).
However, I do not know enough facts about data mining and privacy and all that other smart stuff you can read about in articles written by people who have done research and know what they're talking about. I have only glimpsed it on the surface, and at the moment I have no time to dive into it and research it. Please do your own research. I trust my gut. My gut tells me Ello is a beautiful place that will grow. I'm willing to trust my gut and go for it.
Now, shit happens. Shit happens everywhere all the time. That's life for you. Can something go wrong? You bet. Are you the type who sits at home quietly, waiting to see what happens before testing the waters? By all means wait. I'm the crazy type. I like running out of the house naked (well, not always, only when drunk on vodka) and trying things by smashing right in the middle of them. When it comes to social media, I know exactly what I want to see and when and where, and I'm not interested in being spoon-fed some swill regurgitated by someone else (e.g., ads). I want to listen to my friends, to hear what they like, and I want to tell them what I like. And that's how it always worked and will work. Word of mouth will find you the most loyal readers, not advertisement. The retaining power is greater.
Have I convinced you yet? Try it. Tell me how it works for you. Ask me questions. Watch what I do, copy it, or try your own methods. I will help you out. You can find me on Ello here. Ask me for an invite, I will send you one.
I love you.