I finally say Ello, But Worry It’s Goodbye

I posted to Ello tonight. Finally. I registered three months ago and then did nothing. The text of my first post hints a little bit why not then but more why now. Thomas Hawk convinced me to try, in a ditty he posted yesterday.

Because I’m anal, the text that follows has embedded links, which isn’t their original formatting. Otherwise, the content is as it appears on Ello, which longevity I still have some doubts about. If the site ever goes tits up, the post is preserved here. With that introduction: 

I am such a loser. My Ello account activated Sept. 27, 2014. But the obligatory first post arrives Jan. 3, 2015. I’ve heard talk about Ello for months and visited countless times wondering WTF? I couldn’t, and honestly still don’t, grok the excitement over this plain-looking place. Feels like an old farmhouse with rickety wood floors, whitewashed walls, glass door knobs, and two creakedy chairs and square table.

Am I the newcomer, the latecomer? Is Ello already over and I missed it? Nathan Jurgenson writes Ello’s obituary, while playing somber violin music sure to tear the eye in remembrance before you shrug “Yeah, whatever”.

Meanwhile, Thomas Hawk kicks the corpse and finds life. Hallelujah, praise the Lord, because the dead is risen. I must have faith, because I post at last.

Spartan isn’t necessarily bad, just different in this era of online glitz. But with nostalgia all the marketing rage, Ello is a good place to sweep in the past. The dreary grey box to type text, which font feels like the Century before last, reminds me of the World Wide Web 20 years ago.

In January 1995, we still had O’Reilly Media-created Global Network Navigator as our text-heavy portal to all things interesting. AOL wouldn’t buy, and later ruin, GNN for another six months. We had Yahoo, as it celebrated its first birthday. What a cranky child, too, but such a cute toddler.

Yeah, so much about Ello’s look and feel is early-days Web nostalgic. Oh crap, do tears cause keyboards permanent water damage? Pass the tissue, will you?

There’s freshness in all the dullness. The eye isn’t pulled this way and that by clutter or competing colors. Plainness is a canvas for greatness that can, if used right, make the content that does matter pop.

That content is about people and community — what attracted me to Tumblr during its toddler years before a city of millions sprung up around the little kid. So here I am at last looking for acceptance and admittance into the Ello community, while asking forgiveness for showing little interest and less faith all while wasting a coveted invite.

I grew up in rural Maine, where farmhouses plain and simple are commonplace. Community isn’t the fancy dwelling but what you bring to the place you entertain. A piano. Violin. People singing together, clapping, and stomping their feet. They are the tapestry that decorates the drab walls.

Thomas Hawk convinces me: “I don’t need to be on the biggest social network in the world. I really don’t. I’d rather interact with a few hundred really interesting engaging people than 5 million strangers”.

Ello! Can we be friends?

Photo Credit: Freaktography