I increasingly feel like social media is not for me. I don’t get it. I understand what it is, how it is used, and the potential benefits of it, but I haven’t been able to find a way to use it that works for me.
Many people, myself included, will tell you that the Golden Age of Twitter was five years ago. Once it reached a wide, general audience, it fell off the cliff. I see a lot of anger, bitterness, and spitefulness now. The character limit, while good in a lot of ways, doesn’t always fit with what I want to share. It’s not flexible enough.
Facebook is where I am friends with high school classmates, family, and the few close friends I have made over the years. It feels like it’s not the right audience for posting thoughts on the challenges I am facing with writing. I shiver at the thought of my childhood friend’s father commenting on my writing. It’s too close to home, and it’s too near the bone.
Medium feels too preachy and #thoughtleader-y. It is well designed, but it rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I should give Medium another try since it is focused on writing? Snapchat is too ephemeral. Instagram is fine, but photos and videos aren’t my thing. There are some good communities on Reddit, but it is more centered around topics instead of individuals.
Well, what do I want to get out of social media then? Two things:
- Be part of a community of people making and sharing cool things. I want to actually engage and discuss things with people.
- Create a catalog of what I have been making and sharing in a public space. The focus on ephemeral firehoses is exhausting. I want what I share to be available to view for years to come and pleasant to explore.
I have gotten #1 and #2 from Ello after using it for about a week, and, most importantly, I am having fun.
When I look at my profile on Ello, I’m proud of how it looks and what’s there. It’ll be awesome to scroll through in a few years and see what I was thinking and writing today.
I’ve had genuine social interactions on Ello. Folks have been supportive and curious about what I am working on. The writing community feels tight-knit. I like seeing familiar faces. Because Ello values creators, the community consists of creators and those who enjoy following and interacting with creators. It’s a good combo.
I like how slow the stream of content on Ello is. If I don’t check it for a few days, I don’t have to worry about catching up. I’d reckon that the posts per day per user is less on Ello than other social networks, and I think that is a good thing. I value quality over quantity in almost every aspect of my life—food, friends, possessions. I think it should apply to the social media I consume too.
It’s so refreshing to not see ads when browsing Ello. My routine has been to only check Ello when I post something or respond to a comment. I don’t feel the addictive twitch to check it every hour, which is healthy. Whenever I check Ello, I always see something inspiring. That has such a different impact on where my mind goes and how I feel than when I see someone yelling about something.
Since each post on Ello can be a mixture of images, text, and videos, it allows for a mixture of small updates and long form updates. I feel comfortable sharing a single sentence, a photo, or an entire short story. I think Ello handles the various forms of media well.
If all of this sounds like I am glowing about Ello, it’s because I am. But that’s not to say there aren’t any concerns that I have with it. I do worry about the longevity of the platform. Without a clear revenue stream and with a commitment to not having ads, I wonder how the business will make enough money to keep the lights on. Platforms that want creators to share what they are making need to build trust with those creators. As a creator, I want to know that what I shared will not disappear in a year or ten.
Each social network differs by the people it attracts, what they share, how they treat others, and the priorities of the business behind it. All of those mix together and set the tone for each platform. I think what Ello has going on so far is a good thing.
I’m most inspired by and interested in people who make things. Those are the people I want to follow and communicate with. That is why I am shifting my social media focus to Ello.