There's a great thread going for Ello feedback, but I wanted to share my critique here as well. Let me know what you think:
I think maybe a good questions is... what is ello about? I know that this is something that could come organically, but right now there's some division. If it's just "not facebook" then the idea of "not likes" is natural. But the concept of anything existing simple as a negative to something else I think is destructive and wasteful. Ello has to be something totally it's own, not just an anti to something else.
That's how a lot of this gets answered. So far I have heard complaints that for an artist's sharing site it's hard to share. And for a social updates site it's hard to engage. There are fantastic content creators so far on Ello, but content creators make up the small (albeit vital) part of many social networks. What makes those networks successful beyond that is the ability to curate, to take the material posted and wrap it around yourself to make your own identity clear through it. This is where tumblr excels, with reblogs and personal blogs, that all symbolize an aesthetic. And people who want to put stuff out there and see how it lands, that's more of a twitter style user, and what twitter does great is allow you to make and FEEL a splash, and henceforth the ripples in a larger community.
But what is Ello? Where does it fit in this landscape of social media? Does it want to compete with twitter to make people feel like they are letting themselves be heard to the greatest effect? Or compete with tumblr, the Emperor of aesthetic and content curation?
Or is it going to be something new?
As I said earlier, it could be that this emerges. But I think that anything, even everything, needs an example case. People want to look at a few examples of something being made utmost use of, and right now I feel like Ello is echoing the purpose of a few different social media tools, but an echo is not it's own sound. Ello needs a barbaric YALP.
I think the driving force behind Ello can be anti based, but make it an Antihero. People have to feel like the energy they put into something comes back to them in some form. Likes do this for some, but they're one dimensional, and lack sincerity.
That's how Ello feels to me: sincere. To that end why can't we think about entirely new ways to reward users. What if quality can mean more than quantity in terms of likes and bookmarks. Ello is a great chance to bust open all the typical constraints and bias that orbit social networks and see what can be conceived, fresh and wriggling.
I don't think that the use cases can be limited to just content creators. And I know that you have to give people some form of reward for their time and energy.
Just one idea is inspiration mapping. If you post something, someone else can respond to it with another item of their own, sourcing yours as the inspiration source, and someone can do the same with the new work, creating a virtual webs of inspiration and positive creation rather than just bland liking. Also, what if you got one "favorite" per day, and you can only give that favorite to one thing. This makes a reward system that emphasizes quality over quantity. And how about the ability to turn off counters, so you don't see any or no one can see yours? AO3 does this with visible and invisible "kudos".
There's A MOUNTAIN of possibilities, and I really need to give it more thought and time. But I think there's a sandbox of behavioral motivation and enjoyment here waiting to be pulled into fresh shapes.
TLDR: Give me a use case. Give me a value proposition. Match user feedback and reward systems to that unique identity, and let's totally change what it means to be a social media network.