Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock for the past few days, you’ve probably heard about Ello, the newest social network to hit the Internet. Once you join, you get a handful of invites to send out to other people you’d like to bring into the fold — but how do you decide who to invite to Ello? Never fear — we’re on it with a series of questions that will make the decision-making process as easy as Ello itself purports to be.
I’ll confess that I’m not actually on Ello yet; I’ve requested an invite, though — not necessarily because I’m desperately searching for a new social network, but because I’m kind of curious about what it looks like behind its minimalist, black-and-white curtain. From what I’ve gathered from other people who are on it, its main selling points are that there’s no advertising on it, and it doesn’t collect or sell its users’ personal data. It also allows you to sort your contacts on it as either “friends” or “noise,” which means you can pick and choose who you actually pay attention to on it. Even so, it’s not without its problems — it’s buggy, people are apparently having trouble figuring out how to post and comment on it, and as Jess Zimmerman at The Guardian points out, you can’t block people on it: “Ello’s white male founders did not consider that a pre-rollout priority, though they’re apparently working on it,” she writes. Things to bear in mind.
But even if — contrary to popular belief — people aren’t actually leaving Facebook for Ello in droves, its beta test is still in high demand. If you’ve managed to make your way onto it and haven’t yet figured out to whom to bequeath your coveted invites, this should help: We’ve developed a simple list of 10 questions designed to help you weed through your Facebook friends to find the Five Chosen Ones. Each question is based on what we know about Ello and functions as a tier; as you make your way down, the questions should filter out those unsuited to Ello. Maybe they’re the sorts of people who are causing you to leave Facebook in the first place; maybe they’re just not the type to drink the Ello Kool-Aid; or maybe they’re something else entirely. Either way, by the time you get to the bottom, you should have narrowed down the list to a pool of eligible Ello users; from there, the decision should be easy.
1. Do you actually know them?
First things first.
2. Have you directly interacted with them any time in the past year, either online or off?
If yes, keep ‘em; if no, ditch ‘em.
3. Do they have thick skins?
Since you can’t block people or set your profile to “private” right now, there could be opportunity for harassment. Again, with luck these features will arrive soon (and without us having to pay for them, since the way Ello will apparently make its money is by asking users to pay small fees for additional features they really like) — but until then, you’d better make sure they’re ready to deal with the trolls.
4. Are they a walking advertisement?
If yes, don’t invite them.
5. Do they like emojis?
Ello does, too, so if the answer is yes, they’ll get on famously with it.
6. How about GIFs?
Since Ello is GIF-compatible, obviously you’ll want to make sure it’s full of people who know how to use them to their greatest comedic effect.
7. How do they feel about “real names”?
If they think everyone should be required to use their real names on their profiles, they should probably stay away from Ello, which does not require their users to go by their real names.
8. Do they overshare?
It seems silly to flood a network known for simplicity with people who post pictures of their breakfast every day and write lengthy rants about everything from their political beliefs to the fact that the barista at their favorite coffee shop misspelled their name on their cup AGAIN, even though you keep TELLING her that it’s “Sara” withOUT an h, not “Sarah” WITH an h, right?
9. Do they really want another social network?
Even if they pass all the other questions, if they don’t feel the need to add yet another social network to their lives, then don’t bother.
10. Do you actually like them?
The most important quality of all: If you don’t like spending time with them, why would you want them flooding your newsfeed (or whatever Ello’s equivalent is)?
Now go forth! Invite! And Ello!