Thought I'd post a personal note about today's stream name change from "Friends/Noise" to "Following/Starred".
This change has been in the works for many months. There have been lots of discussions in my stream over the months about the original names we chose, and how people use them. Some of you helped out with surveys, and with personal discussions as well.
Some reasons why we made this change:
1) When Ello launched we were compared to Facebook. Blech. That's like comparing a beautiful family-owned store to Wal-Mart. We have always hated this comparison!
From the start Ello has been a network designed to empower and support creators to inspire one another and move the world forward. That's our mission. Period.
The problem is that with all those news articles we didn't ask for, people still join Ello looking for another Facebook and they are always disappointed. And that leads to confusion and negativity on and off the network. We've all seen tweets like "I joined Ello and none of my friends were there." Of course they aren't. That's not what Ello is for.
Well, "Friends" as a primary stream name caused some of this confusion, since people would join and wonder why we weren't automatically reading all their data (which we don't collect) to connect them with their friends like Facebook does.
Ello isn't primarily a place to post where you're going and who you're with.
This name change is helping to make that clear so we can stop dealing with some of that older confusion. It helps people join Ello and get more of what they expect.
2) The name "Noise" also caused confusion as people weren't sure how to use it — it sounded a bit negative. I myself use my second stream to sort out people that post a bit more than I'd like them to (but I still love their posts), and as a way to contain clutter, so the old name "Noise" worked great for me.
But it turns out that a majority of people on Ello use their second stream follow people they love most — just the opposite way I use it. And other people use it other ways, for example as a place to follow new people exclusively.
So we wanted something a little more neutral and intuitive.
"Starred" is fairly neutral and leaves you open to follow people in your second stream any way you like.
And it conforms to many internet and app conventions, so it's easy to figure out.
3) Our awesome customer service people get many, many questions from new users about how to use the two streams every day — lots of confusion about what the names mean.
In fact, they get so many questions that we knew from the start that the names we chose were an issue. It takes a lot of their time that they could better use doing something else.
The new system should give our team a break, so they can take care of more important issues!
4) And finally, the new naming system allows one-click following for both streams. In the old system, you had to click "Follow" and then a pop up would ask you if you wanted to put them in Friends or Noise. Now you just click once to follow someone, or click the star once to Star them. Simpler.
Seems like a small thing, but it actually makes things like our new Discover section, which is getting more and more awesome, easier to use.
It is also important because one of the next things coming to Ello are categorized posts, so you will be able to post into categories. And being able to search and discover popular posts by category. One-click following just makes the interface much cleaner for those enhancements too.
5) Finally, we have to admit that we lost something. I personally loved "Noise" as a name. It has charm. It's one reason it took all of us so long to make this change. We'd become attached to the way things are!!
But you never get anything new without losing something else. Facing and accepting change takes courage. As a (much older and wiser) friend of mine used to say: all positive gain also includes some loss. So if you miss the old names, take heart. We do too.
But we like the new ones as well!
Please try the new system with an open heart. Ello is super-responsive to feedback from all of you, and we will adjust as needed.
Thanks for loving Ello so much. We're so grateful that you're here.