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5 Tips to Navigate Ello, the Anti-Facebook Social Network

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Just what we need: another social network. (For once, I’m being serious.) Meet Ello, the anti-Facebook Internet dweller’s dream come true.

I’m not anti-Facebook per se, but I did decide close down my Facebook account two years ago to focus my efforts on the social networks I absolutely love (which are Twitter, Twitter and Twitter). Why do I love it so? Because of how clean and easy it is to use. I don’t have to look at anything I don’t want to, and they’ve managed to roll out ads that aren’t intrusive or bossy – they’re more like “suggestions.”

But wouldn’t it be nice to not have to deal with ads or clutter of any kind? As an extreme minimalist, even those social networks that brag about being clean and minimal are still too cluttered for me – until now.

Meet Ello, the ad-free social network that prides itself on protecting your privacy – and if you’re a user who disagrees with their anti-tracking and anti-advertising mission, they subtly send you back to Facebook where you belong (HA!).

They’ve stripped the concept of a social network down to its bare bones: You get to focus more on “social” and less on “networking.” They treat people like people, not like products or numbers for profit. While Ello uses Google Analytics to track user activity to learn how to improve and evolve the site, you can opt out of allowing them to keep track of your personal activity, which is a huge “cha-ching” in my book.

For the anti-Facebook crowd, Ello will complete you. If you’re interested in taking the social network for a spin, here’s what you need to know:

1. To sign up

Ello is currently invite-only, meaning you have to receive an invite from someone already on the network, or you have to sign up on their homepage and wait for Ello to invite you directly. (How long it will take them to get back to you is hard to say; at last glance they were receiving over 35,000 invite requests an hour!).

Once you’ve received your invitation code, sign up and choose your username. It’s better to choose wisely right off the bat to avoid someone else taking the name you really want, but it’s totally kosher to change your username in the future.

2. To fill out your profile

You’ll be taken to a welcome page that offers navigation tips to help you get started. Before taking the full tour though, it’s best to fill out your profile and your settings preferences first. Upload an image that’s 340 x 340 for your profile photo, and an image that’s 1800 x 1013 for your header.

Next, enter your biography, links, and decide on your privacy settings. You have the ability to choose whether or not your profile’s visible to people outside of the Ello network, whether you want others to comment on your posts, how/if you want to receive notifications, and again you can decide whether or not to allow Ello to track your activity.

3. Get to know the Omnibar

The Omnibar is the bar you use to post content and socialize with others. It’s a black bar at the top of your stream, and you can use it to post images (including GIFs), share links, and soon you’ll be able to add audio and video files. You can mention and socialize with others using the @ sign just like Twitter. I’m not sure if private messages are a thing yet, but when they are you’ll be able to send private messages by using two @ symbols before the person’s username (for example, @@username).

4. To find friends on Ello

While there is a search box, it’s still pretty buggy, so for the time being your best bet is to use Ello’s “Discovery” page. Like Twitter’s “Discover” page, here you’ll be able to check out what’s trending and all the shenanigans users are getting into.

5. To organize your feed

There are two ways you can filter your news feed: Friends and Noise. Adding someone as a friend is similar to following someone on Twitter. When you categorize someone as a Friend, they’ll receive a notification, but it doesn’t have to be a mutual follow like on Facebook. And if you’re not technically a friend of someone’s but you want to keep tabs on their updates, you add them to your Noise feed (and unlike adding them as a friend, they’re not notified when you do so).

Keep in mind as you’re browsing Ello that it’s still in Beta, which means they still have bugs they’re ironing out. But I feel like if Facebook and Twitter were to have an ad-free baby, this is what it would look like. They’ve taken our favorite elements from the various social networks already in existence, and created a Frankenstein the anti-Facebook crowd are justifiably falling in love with.

Will you be joining the Ello bandwagon?

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