This is a challenge to the Ello team (and Ello members)
I've posted a long set of suggestions for Ello focusing mostly on technical factors I'd like to see addressed, and a few for the focus of the platform itself. I'm actually pretty convinced that a lot of them -- far more than my usual success rate with feature recommendations -- are going to be addressed in the upcoming Ello v.2 release. Which would be awesome.
Actually addressing them properly would be even better, we'll see what happens.
Ello's also impressed the hell out of me by taking a suggestion I'd made and coming up with an other than technical fix. "Do the Interest graph" I said. Thinking of some sort of tagging or channel-based system. What cooked out of Ello Labs wasn't that, but was even more inspired: put human editors on top of a set of curated content. So we've got a set of officially curated channels: @elloarchitecture, @ellocooking, @elloscience, et al (a canonical list of these would be peachy). I'm still reeling with the simple genius of this. Sometimes a bit of human factor is just what you need, and the best solutions marry human and technological capabilities.
But ... Yeah, it's Edward, there's always a but ...
There's a whole slew of Really Interesting People who were, truth to tell, a key attraction in my checking out Ello. People who I'd really like to encourage to produce and contribute content. People who are, as a general rule, fairly busy, and don't like putting up with a bunch of annoyances or frustrations.
So here's my buried lede:
Figure out how to make it sinfully easy and simple for the exceptionally talented set of early-adopters who came to Ello to add their words of wit and wisdom.
Who do I have in mind? People like social networking researcher dana boyd (@zephoria), journalist Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews). Brilliant lights Quinn Norton (@quinn) and Meridith L. Patterson (@mlp) (I don't really know how to describe them -- tech / journalist / crypto / rights / bio / hacker / other). Long-time tech journo Evan Leibovitch (@el56). Apache Founder and World Economic Forum dude Brian Behlendorf (@brianbehlendorf), W3C member Evan Prodromou (@evanprodromou), programmer Tim Bray (@timbray), Free Software gurus Simon Phipps (@webmink) and Danese Cooper (@danese), former Slashdot editor Robin "Roblimo" Miller (@roblimo). More journos: Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) and Scott Kleinberg (@scottkleinberg). Tech legend Clay Shirky (@cshirky).
And that's just from my own "Friends" list here, I know there are more.
My point is, Ello doesn't have to recruit these people, they're already here. They've made accounts, signed on, and most have posted at least some sort of "hello, world" message (I happen to like @zephoria's "hello, yet another world" original -- she's since switched out accounts).
But most are largely silent. We've got a few writers who are still active -- Charlie Stross (@cstross) posts every so often, Bruce Sterling (@bruces) quite frequently, and newcomer Ksenia Anske (@kseniaanske) is a mad dervish.
I'm not sure what specific solution I'd suggest, and actually, I think I'll stand back and not say much. If it's an API, a way to couple a blog or Twitter-stream RSS/Atom feed, payment or encouragement, or what. The point is, these are good and smart people, and their participation should be encouraged to the maximum extent possible.
And, to get out of the SUL (suggested user list) bind: the lessons from helping these folks get up and running can be applied to others. There's a lot of talent and creativity on Ello, and the crew (especially @budnitz and @cacheflowe) have been good at calling it out. But some level of promotion and interest indication are sorely needed (the "love" indicators might help with this). Winking in the dark or whistling in the wilderness is only fun for so long.
Another point is that smart people go to where the other smart people are (especially if they can weed out the nitwits in the process). Build a brain magnet and it will grow.
The list is short enough that I will suggest a method that I think is relevant here: interview these people directly. Ask them what brought them to Ello, why they've dropped off in participation, and what will bring them back. My strong suspicion though is that most of them are writing and creating stuff somewhere which can be shared here, and that providing an easy syndication route -- yes, for selected, hand-picked individuals, and yes, this is playing favorites -- might just be a good game plan.
And as for me, I'd really love a service where I got to see what was on their collective minds from time to time.