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Ello: The Complete Guide to the Ad Free Social Network

Ello is an “ad free and always will be” social network. Although it’s been around for a few months, its existence went viral during the final weeks of September 2014.
This post will serve as a frequently-updated guide to the features of Ello and how to use them. You can download the latest version in PDF form here (coming soon).
Complete Ello User Guide
Ello was created by a group of artists and designers from the Berger & Föhr Studios who were fed up with social networks brimming with ads and selling their users’ data to other advertisers. They believed that others were ready for something different too, and so they made Ello.
Ello isn’t just an attempt to break with the alleged over-commercialization of social networks, it’s also a revolt against their often too-cluttered design. Ello is as simple and clean as Craigslist, but with slightly hipsterish twists (clean, sparse layout; monospaced typewriter fonts; a logo that mocks the ubiquitous, ad agency created smiley-face).
As simple as Ello’s design is, it’s very minimalism can make it daunting to new users. Some of its features work very differently from other social networks. And many features social media users now expect as “standard” are still on the drawing board. (This guide, and it’s PDF downloadable version, will be updated as new features or other changes are introduced.)
We hope that this guide will help you get more productive and enjoyable use out of Ello! (Note: This guide currently covers only the desktop version of Ello.)
This document is copyright ©2014 Perficient Digital. You may copy and distribute the downloadable version of this guide, but must include its entire contents unaltered, and you may not charge for the guide nor use it as part of any sales or promotions without explicit written permission from Perficient Digital. This guide may not be reproduced on the web, in print, or in any other medium without express permission from Perficient Digital.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of Ello

  2. Creating an Ello Account and Profile


p style=”padding-left: 30px;”>Signing up


p style=”padding-left: 30px;”>Creating a Profile & Editing Settings

Adding a Header Image

  1. The Ello Home Page

The Ello Control Panel

Default Home Page View

Viewing Profiles and Posts of Users

The Notifications Center

  1. Following Users

Understanding Friends and Noise

How to Follow Another User

  1. Finding Users

Discover Page

Discovering Users Via Other Users

  1. Posting and Commenting

Creating a New Post

Basic Text Formatting

Creating a Link

Posting Rich Media (Audio and Video)

Publishing a Post

Editing, Deleting, or Linking a Published Post

Commenting on Posts

Responding to an Individual Comment

Editing, Deleting or Linking to a Comment

Mentioning Other Users

Reporting a Post or Comment

  1. Ello Best Practices: How to Become a Super User

Don’t Cross the Streams (But Do Switch Them!)



  1. Extras: Text Formatting, Emojis and Ello Services

Formatting Text


Reporting Bugs and General Feedback

Reporting Abuse, Fake Profiles, and Spam

Is Ello Down?

1. Overview of Ello

Here are some basic distinctives of Ello:

  • No advertising, and the owners pledge that your account data will never be made available to third parties for advertising or commercial purposes.
  • Following and being followed are asymmetrical. That is, you can follow any user without having to be followed back, and anyone can follow you. This makes Ello more similar to Twitter and Google+ than Facebook.
  • Everything you post or comment is public (unless you change to private mode in the settings). That is, it can not only be viewed by other Ello users, but by anyone who has a link to the page.
  • You place accounts that you follow into one of two groups: Friends or Noise.
  • You only see content in either of your feeds from accounts that you follow.
  • Posts can be just text, just media (images, videos, or sound files), or a combination. Each text box or image within a post can be dragged and dropped to change the original order.

Each of those features will be covered in more detail in the sections below.

2. Creating an Ello Account and Profile

At present, Ello accounts can be obtained only through invites extended either from the network itself of from other users (who each get a limited number to give out). Those who don’t know anyone offering invites can be put on a waiting list for Ello-extended invites by entering their email addresses in the form on the home page.
Signing Up for Ello
Once you have an invite code, go to to create your account.
Your invitation code will be pre-filled. If not, paste it in.
Choose a username. If a green dot appears to the right in that window, the name you have chosen is still available.
Finally, create a password (8 character minimum) and click “Create Account.”
Ello Signup Screen
Creating a Profile and Editing Ello Settings
Once you’ve completed the signup process, you’ll find yourself on the Ello home page.
You’ll be viewing the @ello account, the official “home” account of Ello. Like Tom of MySpace fame, @ello automatically follows every user, so @ello is your first follower. I’ll cover the various elements of the home page later, but for now, you’ll want to click the gear icon at the top of the left column to go to Settings.
Ello home page
Here is what the Settings page looks like:
Ello settings page
Your username, email, and password will be already filled in since you created those during account setup. At this point you’ll want to add or adjust four other elements:

  1. Profile photo: Drag and drop an image into the circle at upper left. The ideal size is 340 x 340. Make sure the part you want visible is in the center of your image, as it will be cropped down to a circle.
  2. Name: This is the name which will be displayed underneath your username in your profile. If you do not want any name displayed, leave this blank.
  3. Bio: Create a brief description to appear at the top of your profile.
  4. Links: Add any links to other places people can find you or your content.

(NOTE: Changing your username – You can change your username in the Settings at any time to any available name. However, be aware that all @mention links using your old username will then be broken [i.e., they will no longer lead to your profile when clicked]. However, the link in your avatar in the Friends or Noise section for anyone who followed you will be updated and still work.)
After making any changes to your profile, you will be asked to reenter your password in order to save the changes. View your profile by clicking the link at the bottom of the setup form.
Additional Settings
If you scroll down the Settings page you will see toggle switches to set various options for your account:
ello settingsEllo settings part 2Ello settings part 3
These options are divided into four sections. The grey part of each Yes/No toggle indicates the active choice. To change the option, click on either Yes or No.

  • Public Profile: A Yes setting means that anyone can view your profile, posts, and comments online, even if they are not logged in to Ello. No means only logged in users can view your profile, posts, and comments. (Note, making your profile non-public hides even your comments on other people’s posts from anyone viewing a post not logged in to Ello.)
  • Comments: Yes means any other user can leave a comment on your posts. No blocks comments for all your posts.
  • Sharing: Yes means other users can share your posts to other social networks. No prevents any such sharing.
  • Analytics: Yes gives permission for Ello to collect anonymous data about your activities on Ello to help them assess how well the service is running and detect problems. No one at Ello can connect this data with your specific account. A No choice prevents Ello from collecting this data.
  • Reposting: Yes means other users can repost your post to their Ello stream.
  • Embedding: Yes hides any third party media (such as videos from YouTube or sound files from Soundcloud) from showing in your stream. No allows them to show.


  • Comments: Yes means you will receive an email anytime a new comment is added to one of your posts.
  • Mentions: Yes means you will be notified by email when another user mentions you in a post. (See below for how to “mention” a user.)
  • New Followers: Yes means you will be notified by email when other users follow you.
  • Invitations: Yes means you will be notified by email whenever a user has accepted an invitation you sent by creating an account.
  • Updates & Announcements: Yes means Ello can send you periodic emails about new features or service upgrades.

These notifications will appear in your Notification Center in Ello even if you disable email notifications. See Chapter 3 below.

  • Post Adult-Oriented Content: Yes means your posts will be tagged with NSFW (“Not Safe for Work”) and that you may post adult-oriented content within Ello’s guidelines. Note that turning this on means that users who block NSFW content will not see any of your posts, whether they are adult-oriented or not.
  • View Adult-Oriented Content: Yes means that content from user accounts you follow that are tagged NSFW will be visible to you.

Account Deletion

Clicking the Delete button will terminate your account, and all your personal information, posts, and comments will be removed. Once deleted, your account cannot be restored.

Adding a Header Image
From the settings page you can also add a large banner image that will show above your profile when people scroll upward while viewing it.
To add a header image, scroll to the top of the Settings page until the “Change your header image” legend appears in the large grey space (or the existing image). Drag and drop an image into that space. (Note: ideal image dimensions are 1800 x 1300).
Logging in and Logging Out of Ello
To sign in to your Ello account, go to You’ll find a link to login at the upper right of the Ello home page.
Ello login page
To sign out of your Ello account, go to Settings (the gear icon at the top of the left panel on your Ello home page), and find the logout link at upper right on the settings page.
Ello logout link

3. The Ello Home Page

Let’s take a tour of the Ello home page.
The Ello Control Panel
When in default view, the Ello control panel is always at the upper left of your screen:
Ello user control panel
Let’s walk through the elements of the Control Panel.

  1. Home Button: Clicking the Ello logo (black circle with a white “smile”) on the control panel will always bring you back to the home page, and a fresh Omni Box for posting (more on that below).
  2. Discover: The first of the three small icons from left-to-right, which looks like the silhouette of a person with a + sign takes you to the Discover page. More on that below.
  3. Invites: The circle with a plus sign in it takes you to your Invitations page, where you can send Ello account invitations to friends (if you currently have any available).
  4. Settings: The gear icon takes you to your Settings page (see above).
  5. Sidebar Slider: the icon made of three parallel horizontal lines, when clicked on, hides the left sidebar, which allows the entire window width for displaying posts and comments. Clicking this again restores the default view.
  6. Friends and Noise: These buttons toggle the right panel between views of the feeds for the two groups in which you place users you follow. It also changes the display of user thumbnails in the left panel to show users you have in the active group. More on that below.
  7. Notification Center: The button with a lightning bolt icon takes you to your Notification Center. More on that below.

The Default Home Page View
The default Home Page view in the desktop version of Ello has two panels.

  • The left panel displays the Control Panel and thumbnails of the profile images of users you follow in the current right panel view (Friends or Noise).
  • The right panel displays a timeline of posts and comments from users in the currently selected group (Friends or Noise).

Here is how that appears for a typical active user. First, with Friends selected:
Ello Friends view
And with Noise selected:
ello noise view
Notice that in Friends view, posts and comments are fully expanded and take up the entire width of the right panel, whereas in the Noise view, posts are shown as thumbnails with only an excerpt of any text, and in columns. (Pro Tip: Shift-5 will toggle the Noise view to expand all posts and display them full width, similar to the Friends View.
Viewing Profiles and Posts of Other Users
The simplest way to view the profile and posts of an account you follow is to go to the group that contains that user (Friends or Noise, using the selector buttons on the Control Panel), and find their avatar in the left panel. Clicking on the avatar (thumbnail profile image) loads that user’s profile and timeline of posts in the right panel.
You can also load the profile and post timeline of any user by clicking on their avatar or @name anywhere on Ello, or by entering in your browser’s URL bar, where xxx=the username.
The Notifications Center
Click the lightning bolt button to take you to your Notification Center. (You can also open Notification Center by typing “r”)
Ello Notifications Center Button
The Notifications center opens in the left panel (the drawer)T, replacing the Friends or Noise user list.
ello notification panel
The Notification Center shows acceptances of your invites, notices of new followers, and @mentions of you in posts and comments. In the case of @mentions, click the word “post” in the notification to see the full post where the mention was made.
At the top of the Notifications Center are five filters. From left to right they are:

  1. All: All notifications of every type.
  2. Comments (three dots): Comments on your own posts.
  3. Mentions (@ sign): Mentions of you in the posts or comments of other users.
  4. Reposts (circular arrow): Reposts of your posts by other users.
  5. New followers (head-and-shoulders icon with + sign): People who have added you most recently.

4. Following Users (Friends and Noise)

Understanding Friends and Noise
Before we talk about how to add a user, it is important to understand that in Ello you place every account you follow into one of two groups: either Friends or Noise. Noise may have been an unfortunate name choice, since it implies “low value” or even “worth ignoring.” We need to get past that, since these are all people you chose to follow!
Rather the two groups are Ello’s simple way of letting you sort out a common problem in social networks: signal vs noise. In any group of accounts you follow on a network, there are bound to be some that have more importance of value to you. For those accounts, you typically want to see more of their posts and engage more with them. All of your other followers are people or brands you’re content to occasionally browse, but you don’t care if you see everything from them.
Most other social networks seek to solve this problem by use of algorithms that try to automatically figure out what for you will be “signal” and what will be “noise” and show you more of the former and less of the latter. Ello leaves that choice entirely up to you.
So most users will want to put relatively fewer accounts they follow in Friends and many more in Noise. Some users start out adding everyone to Friends, and then over time decide who should be moved to Noise as they observe the behavior of the users.
Following Another User
To follow a user you must view their profile. You can view their profile by clicking on their avatar anywhere on Ello, clicking on any @mention of their user name, or by entering in your browser’s URL bar, where xxx=the username.
Once you are viewing the user’s profile, you can add them by clicking either Friend or Noise at the upper right of their profile:
Following a user on Ello
They will be instantly added to that Following group, and their posts will appear in the right panel of that group’s view on your home page.
Warning: Ello has instituted a limit on the number of people you can follow in a day. According to Robert Soble (@scobleizer), the limit is 60 per day.
Switching Users Between Friends and Noise
There are two ways you can move a user you follow from one group to the other:

  1. Click on the user’s avatar or @name to go to their profile and then click in the Friend/Noise box at upper right for the group you want to switch them to.
  2. Drag the user’s avatar from the left panel onto either Friends or Noise in the Control Panel.

Unfollowing a User
If you wish to no longer follow a user, go to their profile and click the grey area of the Friends/Noise selector at upper right. Both sides of the selector will now be white and you will no longer be following that user.
Blocking/Muting a User
You can block or mute any user on Ello by going to their profile and clicking the circle with a line through it on the Friend/Noise add button.
Ello Block & Mute Button
After clicking that button you will get a large red box that asks you to choose between muting or blocking the user. Click the button for your choice. The difference between muting and blocking:

  • Muting prevents further notifications from a user and removes their past activity from your feed. The user can still follow you and comment on your posts, but you will not receive any notification of the comments.
  • Blocking mutes a user, and disables them from viewing your profile and posts. The user could still view your profile and posts, however, by going to your profile while logged out of their account. If this is a concern, you should change your settings to make your account non-public.

Unblocking or Unmuting a User
There are two ways to unblock or unmute a user you’ve previously blocked or muted:

  1. Go to their profile and click either Friend or Noise. They will instantly be unblocked and added back to the group you clicked. (This works only for unblocking)
  2. Go to their profile and click the block icon (the circle with a line through it to the right of the Friend/Noise add box). You will get the following dialog box asking you to confirm your decision to unblock or unmute:

Ello unblock dialog box
Obviously, if you had muted the user, the box above would show the Mute button as “Unmute” and be black. (Thanks to @mickmel for alerting me to this feature and providing the screen capture.)
User Stats
Each user profile gives you three stats for that user (see illustration above).

  1. Posts: This number is a combination of the actual original post and all the comments that user has created. In other words. Comments are counted as “posts.”
  2. Following: The number of users this user is following. Click on “Following” to see a list of the users. You can follow any of them from this list.
  3. Followers: The number of people following this user. Click on “Followers” to see a list of these users. You can follow any of them from this list.

5. Finding Users on Ello

There are a few ways on Ello to discover users you may already know, or just to come across interesting users you don’t know but might want to add.
Ello Discover Page
You get to the Discover page by clicking the Control Panel icon that looks like a tiny silhouette of a person with a plus sign attached.
Ello discover page button
The Discover page opens in the right panel. It has four tabs: Featured, Related, Random, and Search.
Ello Discover page
Featured displays a listing of recommended accounts to follow. It is not clear how or under what criteria these accounts were chosen to be featured.
Related appears to show users who have followers in common with you, or who follow people you follow.
Random is, well, random. It will show you a different set of random users every time you click it.
Search. Click in the search box and slowly type in a username, the listing below will automatically update as you type. You should be able to find any user by entering part or all of their username, or their real name if they have that listed in their profile.
Ello user search
CircleCount Ello Profile Ranker
If you’re interested in finding the most popular profiles on Ello, CircleCount has built a tool at
The tool allows you to sort Ello profiles it has indexed by four categories: Most Followers, Most Following, Most Posts, and Most Comments.
You can also search for the most popular users who have a particular keyword in their profile. For example, search for SEO.
Searching Ello on Google
Since Google Search is indexing posts from Ello, you may be able to find users (and anything else) on Ello by using this search “hack” suggested by Lars Skjoldby.
In the Google Search bar, enter keyword -inurl:post

substituting “keyword” with whatever you want to find on Ello. If you want to search for an exact match, put your keyword phrase in quotation marks.
Discovering Users Via Other Users
For now perhaps the best way to find people worth following is by watching for them in the profiles and posts of other Ello users.
You can view a list of the followers of and those followed by any user on their profile, but clicking the links under the user’s profile name.
Ello follower and following links
You can then scroll down the list and use the Friend/Noise buttons next to each profile listing to follow any you wish. If one of the choices is already grey, uou are already following that user.

6. Posting and Commenting on Ello

Creating a New Post
Posts on Ello are created in the Omni Box. The Omni Box appears at the top of the right panel on the home page. If you are currently not seeing an Omni Box, go to Home (click the black smiley face Ello logo at upper left).
The Omni Box unexpanded looks like a black speech bubble coming from your profile avatar, and contains the text “Say Ello…”
Location of Ello Omni Box
Click inside the Omni Box to create a post. The box expands and turns grey to let you know you are in post edit mode. You can now type inside the box:
Adding text to an Ello post
There are a lot of nice tricks for formatting your text, but we’ll get to those in chapter 8.
You can also add an image to a post by simply dragging and dropping the image file from your computer’s desktop or file listing window. Drop it anywhere in the Omni Box. It will be added below the existing text placeholder.
Ello post with image added
Notice that Ello has automatically created a new placeholder box below the image. You can ignore that box, or enter more text or drag in another image.
Alternatively, you can upload an image into the post by clicking the upload button in the set of post control buttons just below the lower right of the Omni Box:
Ello upload image button
Each placeholder has two tiny control icons in its upper right region. The “x” will delete that placeholder and its contents. When your post has more than one filled placeholder, you can use the three-horizontal-lines icon to drag any placeholder up of down and change the order of the placeholders.
Ello post placeholder controls
Basic Text Formatting
I’ll cover Ello Markdown, which allows some pretty sophisticated formatting of text, in chapter 8. For now I’ll show you how to quickly and easily make bold or italicized text.
There are two ways to create bold or italicized text in an Ello post or comment:

  1. On-the-fly. To turn on bold or italics as you type, hit CMD-b (Mac) or CTRL-b (PC) for bold or CMD-i (Mac) or CTRL-i (PC) for italics. When you have reached the end of text you want to format, press those same keys to turn off the formatting.
  2. After typing. You can format text already created by highlighting it. Ello pops up a small box above the text. Click B to make the highlighted text bold or I to make it italicized. (Note: this only works in a post-Omni Box, not in comment boxes.)

Ello formatting box
Creating a Link
Ello allows you to create hypertext anchor links in posts and comments. These appear just like links you’re used to seeing on web pages, with underlined text that when clicked jumps the user to the linked location.
To create a link in an Ello post or comment, first copy the link URL so it is your computer’s clipboard memory. Then highlight the text you want to use as the anchor text for the link (the text that will be underlined and “clickable”). Ello will pop up the same formatting popup shown in the previous section. Click the arrow button (third button) and you’ll see an “Add Link…” box.
Ello add link box
Click in that box and paste in the link URL you’d saved to the clipboard. Press Return (Enter) to create the link. (Hint: if you are doing no further additions or edits to the post after adding the link, it is best to click elsewhere in the post before publishing. If you don’t, the link text may get deleted because it is still highlighted.
Adding Rich Media (Audio and Video)
You can add audio and video media to your Ello posts from services including YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, SoundCloud and Mixcloud. More will be added in the future.
To add media from any of those services, simply paste the URL of the media into an Ello Omnibox. A preview of the media embed will appear.
If you have text or other media in your post, you can reposition the rich media embed with the arrow in the upper right corner of the embed.
Adding video to Ello.
Once a video or audio file is embedded in the post, you can either leave the URL in place or delete it. Deleting it will not remove the embedded file.
Video embeds are displayed in a rectangular format; sound clips are displayed in a square (with cover art if available).
If you do not wish to see embedded media in your Ello stream, go to Settings, scroll to Embedded Media, and click “hide.” Please note that doing this will cause all embedded media in Ello to be hidden from you.
Publishing a Post
Once you are done creating and editing a post, there are two ways to publish it to your profile and make it visible to all your followers.
Mouse method: Click on the right arrow icon in the post controls below the Omni Box. (The X cancels the post.)
Ello post controls
Keyboard method: Since the Return or Enter key creates a new line when inside the Omni Box, a key combination with that key is used to publish.

  • On a PC use CTRL-Enter (hold down the CTRL key while pressing Enter)
  • On a Mac, use CMD-Return (hold down the Command key while pressing Return)

Editing, Deleting, or Linking a Published Post
At any time after a post is published, you can do several things with it, using the controls that appear under each of your posts:
ello post controls
The post controls from left to right:

  1. Edit Post (pencil icon): Clicking this button puts the post back in edit mode. You may make any changes, and then republish it using the same methods as stated above. (This button only shows on posts you have created.)
  2. Delete Post (x in a box icon): Clicking this button will permanently delete the post. Deleted posts can not be recovered.
  3. Time Stamp (number and letter): This indicates the amount of time that has passed since the post was published. s=seconds, m-minutes, h=hours, d=days. To grab a link to a post right click on the time stamp and select save or copy the link/URL. That link may then be used elsewhere (inside or outside Ello) as a link to this post. You can also get the post’s link from the Share Post button (see below).
  4. View Count (eyeball icon): The number to the right of the eyeball indicates the number of views of the post so far.
  5. Comments (three dots icon): Clicking this button opens up the comment thread (if any) for the post, and a comment box to add a new comment. If there are already any comments for this post, the number of comments is shown to the right of the button.
  6. Repost: Creates a new copy of the post to be shared on one’s own stream. See “Resharing Inside Ello” below for more details.
  7. Share Post (circle with arrow icon): At present, this button only enables sharing to other social networks.

Sharing Ello Posts Outside of Ello
Clicking the Share button under any post brings up a box with several sharing icons. (Note: the share button will not appear if the user has their profile set to Private or has disabled sharing for their posts).
Ello share box
Click any of the buttons to share the post to various social networks. Current share options include:

  • The post URL (which may be used anywhere, such as in an email or on a blog post)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn

If you’ve opened the share box but decide not to share, just click anywhere outside of it to close it.
If you want to prevent others from sharing your posts outside of Ello, you can deactivate post sharing in your settings. NOTE: this setting applies to all your posts; it cannot be turned on or off for individual posts.
Resharing Inside Ello
In Ello, resharing is called “reposting.” To repost a post to your own stream, click the repost button (curved arrow) that appears under the post.
ello reshare button
If no respost button appears, the creator of the post has disabled reposting (see Settings above). If a number appears to the right of a repost button, it indicates the number of times the post has already been reposted. Clicking the number will show the avatars of the user(s) who reposted it.
When you click a repost button, the original post will be locked in the Omnibar (i.e., you may not edit the original post). You can add your own comments & content before you submit.
If the creator of a post deletes the original post, all reposts of that post will also be deleted. (This is a feature found on no other social network of which I’m aware. It gives the creator of a post complete control over it forever, at least within Ello.)
More about reposting:

  • You can prevent your posts from being reposted in your Settings (see the Settings section above). Reposting must be enabled or disabled for all posts; it cannot be turned on or off for individual posts.
  • There is a repost filter in your Notifications panel that shows any reposts of your posts by other users.

Commenting on Posts
To comment on any post, whether your own or another user’s, click the three-dots button under the post:
Ello post comment button
A black box will appear next to your profile avatar with the legend “Comment…” in it:
Ello comment box
Click in the black box. It will expand and turn grey to indicate you are in comment edit mode. Type your comment, and use the keyboard publish shortcuts listed for post publishing above, or click the arrow button at the lower right to publish the comment.
Publish an Ello comment
If you just want to quickly indicate a “like,” “thumbs up,” or “good job” for a post, click the quick emoji button at the right of the black comment box.
Ello comment emoji button
Clicking that button slides out a selection of positive emoji. Click one and it is instantly posted as your comment on the post.
Ello comment quick emoji choices
There are several “rules” about comments on Ello:

  • A post can have any number of comments (actually, we don’t know yet if there’s a limit).
  • You can comment any number of times in a thread.
  • The person who “owns” the thread (who created the post above to which the comments are attached) will get a notification for each new comment.
  • No one else in the thread gets a notification of a new comment unless the commenter @mentions them in the comment (see below for more about @mentions).
  • Comments are listed in reverse chronological order; that is, the newest comment is at the top.

Responding to an Individual Comment
You can reply to a comment by clicking the reply button (curved arrow) under the comment. The commenter will get a notification of your reply.
Ello replying to a comment
If you want to others in your reply, you can @mention them (type an @ symbol and their username with no space in between) in your comment. Those users will also get a notification that you mentioned them in a comment.
Replying to a comment on Ello
Pro tip: You can also add @mentions of people you follow to comments by dragging and dropping their avatar in the left sidebar into your comment.
If you are the creator of the post, you can reply to all current commenters at once using the reply all button:
Ello comment reply all button
NOTE: The reply all button only appears for the creator of the original post above the comments.
Editing, Deleting, and Linking to a Comment
Each of your comments, once published, shows three control buttons under it (see image above).

  1. Edit (pencil icon): Clicking this will put the comment back in edit mode where you may make any changes.
  2. Delete (x in box icon): Clicking this will permanently delete the icon. (If there are comments from other users in a thread under a post you created, you can delete, but not edit, those comments.
  3. Time Stamp (time since publishing of the comment): This is for reference only. Unlike posts, you cannot grab a link to an individual comment.

Mentioning Other Users
In Ello you can @mention any other user in either a comment or a post. Doing this sends a notification to the user that you mentioned them.
To @mention someone in a post or comment, simply type an “at” symbol (@) immediately followed by the user’s username, with no space between the at symbol and the username.
When published, an @mention turns into a live link. Clicking an @mention of any user takes you to that user’s profile page.
Reporting Posts or Comments
If you see a post or comment that you feel should be reported to Ello as offensive or as a possible violation of Ello terms of service, hover your mouse to the right of the post control buttons and a circle with a line through it will appear:
Ello post and commenting flagging button.
Clicking that button will pop up a list of choices for why you are flagging the post or comment:
Ello post and comment flagging categories
Click on the category for which you want to flag the comment or post. If you decide you do not want to flag and report the comment or post, click outside this box to cancel.

7. Ello Best Practices: How to Become a Super User

I’ll be expanding this section a good deal in future revisions, but here are some initial tips I’ve discovered on how to get the most out of Ello
Don’t Cross the Streams (But Do Switch Them!)

Ghostbusters Logo

Don’t cross the streams! “Ghostbusters logo” by Self-traced in Adobe Illustrator. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

As described above, Ello affords users with a way of sorting users they follow into two groups: Friends (“signal) or Noise.
To get a better Ello experience (and increase your chances of becoming better known and more followed), be sure to regularly switch between views of the two streams. It may be tempting to stay mostly in your Friends view because of the more familiar faces there, as well as increased engagement. But remember you followed the users in your Noise stream for a reason! The Noise view is where you can discover new and unexpected things and people.
(Remember: You can enhance your view of the Noise stream by pressing your keyboard’s right arrow (to hide the left panel) and then pressing SHIFT-5 to expand all the posts.)
When you comment on posts in your Noise stream it is more likely you are being exposed to users who would not run across you otherwise. So you have an opportunity to gain new followers as people there see how brilliant and witty you are!
Over time you will also want to make adjustments, moving Noise users with whom you build relationships (or find very valuable) to your Friends group, and moving Friends who are too noisy to Noise.
“Being engaging” is such a common piece of social media advice now that it borders on the cliche. But I’ve found that adding meaningful comments on Ello posts, or @mentioning relevant users into my more thoughtful posts, is one of the best ways to quickly build a great following.
Because other users in a comment thread (except for the owner of the original post) don’t get notified of new comments, be sure to @mention any in the thread whom you want to see your reply to keep the conversation going.

8. Extras: Shortcuts, Formatting, Emojis and Ello Services

Keyboard Shortcuts
Ello has a bunch of keyboard shortcuts that can help you customize your experience in a number of ways.

Shift 0 Toggle new follow/following notifications on/off in Friends stream
Shift 1 Creates 3 full-window-width panes. Switch between them with right and left arrows. From left to right they are:
1. Followed users (Friends or Noise, depending on which is selected)
2. Post timeline in the currently selected view.
3. A post creation box.
Shift 5 Toggles between expanded post view and grid view.
–> Hide left panel (the “drawer”)
<– Show left panel (the “drawer”)
CMD/CTRL-Enter Publish a post or comment
 f Toggle to your Friends group
n Toggle to your Noise group
 r Refresh screen & open Notification Center

Formatting Text
Aside from the method of bolding and italicizing text I showed you in chapter 6, Ello supports a number of inline formatting codes known as Ello Markdown.
(The following information is from the official Ello help pages.

Making text Bold and Italic

Surround the text you want to format using asterisk (*) symbols.

To create italics, use a single asterisk on either side of a block of text, like this:

*This text will be italic*

This text will be italic.

Surrounding text by two asterisk makes text bold:

**This text will be bold**

This text will be bold

Both * or _ symbols work to make text bold or italic. This way you can combine bold and italic as needed in the same sentence. For example:

**Everyone _must_ drink beer at 7 o’clock today.**

Everyone must drink beer at 7 o’clock today.


Put a double ~ symbol on either side of the text you want to strikethrough. For example:

~~I don’t like cheese~~

I don’t like cheese

Bulleted Lists

Make a bulleted list by preceding list items with a single asterisk (*). Note that you need a space between the asterisk and the text. (A + or – do the same thing.)

  • Clean Shaven
  • Bearded
  • Furry

Numbered Lists

Create a numbered list by preceding list items with a number.

  1. Apple.
  2. Banana.
  3. Vaseline.


Create a text link by wrapping the linked text in brackets [ ], and then wrapping the link in parenthesis ( ).

For example, type this:

[Visit Ello Now!](

and get this:

Visit Ello Now!


Ello supports the use of inline emojis in the posts and comments. emojis are tiny symbols that can be used to express a variety of emotions or just add a bit of style or humor to your text.

Examples of emojis: 🙂  :mrgreen:  ➡

To add an emoji in any Ello Omni box, type a colon (:), the name of the emoji, and another colon (:). Leave no spaces between the colons and the emoji name. When the post or comment is published, Ello will show the named emoji in place of the emoji markdown text.

:thumbsup:    :heart:     :frog:

A special emoji just for us: :ello: creates an emoji Ello logo!

A great list of emojis can be found at – Just click on any emoji there to copy its markdown code to your clipboard, then paste it into your Ello comment or post.

From Ello developer @CacheFlowe: A heads up for iOS users: Don’t use Emoji symbols from your iOS keyboard! They don’t show up for other users. I’ve been seeing a lot of blank comments, because people are using an Apple emoji. For now, you have to use the “cross platform” emoji codes found here.

Contacting Ello
The general contact email for Ello is
Reporting Abuse, Fake Profiles, and Spam
Send an email report with full details to
Other Ello Contact Info
Bug reports:
Job inquiries:
Press requests:
Is Ello Down?
Get the latest status of Ello at You can also sign up there to get an email notification of any status changes.
This document is copyright ©2014 Perficient Digital. You may copy and distribute the downloadable version of this guide, but must include its entire contents unaltered, and you may not charge for the guide nor use it as part of any sales or promotions without explicit written permission from Perficient Digital. This guide may not be reproduced on the web without permission.

Thoughts on “Ello: The Complete Guide to the Ad Free Social Network”

  1. Mark! Killer work here and impressive how quickly you got this out! I almost decided to attempt creating a guide (let’s just say I bought some domains last Friday), but with some screencasts – however decided it was the wrong place to focus my time at the moment. Glad I put that aside, because I think you did a superb job 🙂
    I want to link people to your post about “The Early Adopter’s Creed” – there are many people who are asking “why should I care about Ello?” – I’m with you Mark, I think it’s the wrong question to be asking. It doesn’t matter if Ello succeeds or not. The fact is, there’s enough people jumping in there now for one to learn a TON about marketing/behavior/psych of people trying a brand new network with new rules etc. It’s not everyday you get thousands of people joining a new network. I think it’s these very beginning stages where you can learn the most.

  2. I love the search hack to finding friends. I think that’s something their internal team will quickly block since it goes against what Ello stands for.
    I love this quote from Lars on his Ello:
    “The first thing SEO’s check out on Ello is how to make links.
    Second thing is to check if it’s dofollow or nofollow. ”
    Thanks for sharing this Mark!

  3. Couple small things. Asterisk (not asterix). And the 3-parallel-line thingy is often called a “hamburger.” See – now we’re all hungry…
    Overall, a great analysis. Looking forward to your updates as Ello progresses. 🙂

  4. Paul, I added to the guide a Google Search hack suggested by a friend. keyword -inurl:post
    Substitute “keyword” with a name or whatever you want to find on Ello.

  5. Victor,
    If you’re referring to Lar’s search hack, first of all, it’s not a “hack” really. It’s just making use of Google’s own tools. All of is indexed by Google. I don’t understand why you think that violates “what ello stands for.”
    As for the followed links, a couple of us contacted one of the developers. He thanked us for the tip and said he would look into how to get those nofollowed ASAP.

  6. Fantastic analysis Mark, I have shared the post with a Journalist who was looking for some information on Ello, so if you get a few news links you know who to thank 😉

  7. My invitation code was preset when I received my invitation. I set my email, user name, and password……………the create account box never opened up. Very frustrating. Any suggestions out there?

  8. Thanks, Lars. I’m trying to determine how many characters actually show from the profile bio on the profile. At a certain point the character counter next to the entry box in settings turns red, but I discovered that the amount of characters that will actually show is something less than that point.

  9. Thanks!
    I really had never heard of this before. I put in my request for an invite. Any sense of how this community will sustain itself? I like the concept.
    All the best,

  10. A couple of things of note:
    1. At the moment, Ello is starting to autocomplete the @name for certain users – it does for you, Mark, doesn’t for me. Follower quantity? Post frequency? I am sure it’s a matter of time for everyone.
    2. If you want to be found on Ello, it’s best to use your actual name.
    Thanks for the guide, Mark!

  11. I’m signed up and on my homepage but I don’t have the control panel icons (ie: friend, gear etc) Any help appreciated. I’m using a Mac and wondered if that may be the issue?

  12. Thanks for the quick response Mark. Yes I tried Firefox but no joy there either. However it worked on my iPhone 4s so I’m just using it there. Works great. I didn’t wait for the response to my request for an invite but rather just found a site generating codes through reddit and registered. I like it so far, nice and quiet 🙂 Thanks for the great posts full of helpful information Mark.

  13. Jay, sorry I can’t help you further. It’s got to be some particular problem with either your account or your computer, as I haven’t heard the same problem from anone else.

  14. For a “minimalist” there is a lot of complexity and a steep learning curve suggested in your guide. I recommend three “chapters” for you PDF version to help us get to the top of the learning curve: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced (perhaps more creatively named). Hyperlinks could take one to specific instructions on how to accomplish a task; knowing what tasks might be appropriate in each chapter would simplify the guide. Just a suggestion…

  15. Thanks for the suggestion Rick. I think most users appreciate having the guide indexed by functions they want to do rather than skill levels. However, I think it would be a good idea to mark each tip with some kind of icon indicating beginner or advanced. That would help a beginner know things they could skip and come back to later as needed.

  16. Two friends I’ve invited are having trouble with signup. One didn’t get his invitation (and it’s not in his spam folder.) The other got his invitation, but is having trouble logging in for the first time. The screen confirms that he is human, but he can’t actually log into his account, and he didn’t get an email confirmation (the “Welcome to Ello” message.)

  17. Great article, thank you for sharing. Any ideas on the best size requirements for high res images? I see that the header is best at 1800 x 1013 pixels from another link I’ve read, do you know preferred dimensions for uploading content photos in the feed?

  18. Randolf, yes, Ello’s only (so far) announced monetization plans are a “freemium” model. Many apps work this way: you get to use most of the functionality for free, but you can pay to upgrade to certain premium services.

  19. Mark…Thanks so much for this User Guide! What a GREAT job you did on this guide.
    This is the first day I’ve actually begun using Ello and your guide saved all sorts of time learning the ropes! It’s so much easier to follow than the “Official Ello Help Pages” which require lots of trial and error.
    The Ello team should hire you for all their documentation needs!

  20. i received an invitation and started up the profile, but when i went to log in again it would not let me. i have tried multiple times to reset the password, but that has not worked…. i have yet to receive any emails.
    any ideas what happened? or perhaps something else i can do?

  21. Bookmarked! I really liked this guide when I was searching for how to use this social network. Last month I joined ello (Which was by invitation), but I use this network weekly or bi-weekly basis to just post links 🙁
    After reading this guide I think I can do more than that!!
    Now I have a complete idea of how to use this network and how can I take best from this network. How to create links with anchor text, sharing Ello posts outside of Ello,
    and resharing inside Ello , thanks for these tips.
    Thanks Mark for this excellent and informative guide!

  22. “Search. Click in the search box and slowly type in a username, the listing below will automatically update as you type. You should be able to find any user by entering part or all of their username, or their real name if they have that listed in their profile.”
    Except that the Ello UX designers have done their level best to hide the search “box” by disguising it as an H1 headline. Cute.
    Ello’s UX designers should spend less time thinking about design and more time thinking about UX.

  23. Thanks Mark this is so helpful.
    As an illustrator I am loving Ello’s clean lines but have been struggling with some of the ways I might use it to connect and combine it with my other social networks. I now have a much clearer idea of how I can make Ello work for me and explain how it works to other creatives.
    Thank you for taking the time to write and share this post, greatly appreciated.

  24. Thanks for taking the time to say thanks, Cath! I’ll be updating this soon with some of the recent upgrades on Ello, and I’m working on the eBook version as well.

  25. Esther Barmore

    Mark, they’ve rolled out Ello V2 and that share icon now brings up email option too. You might want to update those instructions.
    Last night when I stumbled on that while on my Kindle (because small screen and no cursor missed regular repost icon and hit the share one) it was not only popping up the box but telling me I had to set up an email (I’m assuming with Ello) to use…I figured would be easier to do from desktop, but now when I try the black share box pops up but no guidance about pming… HELP?????
    I’m going to go back and check if it still shows on kindle but I can follow instructions on the desktop. But even if I find it—explanation in the guide would help others.
    Thanks, this guide has been a big help tho I’m the sort that has no problem experimenting…
    @feypoet (Esther Barmore)

  26. Thanks, Esther. I also got the notice about Version 2. I’m hoping to update the guide as soon as possible, but it will have to wait for some other pressing projects. Let me know if you find the solution to your problem!

  27. hey Randolf,
    I totally understand where buzzfeed is coming from on the video, but the truth is, and this really does explain a lot (and ell is super bad for buzzfeed so theres that bias too). Ello recieved a lot of attention it really honestly wasn’t ready for. It was a very small beta platform when this video came out and the reason was largely because of facebooks real names policy. It burned a TON of people on the platform and it outed a large majority of LGBT+ people causing a spike in homelessness, in suicides and more in the demographic.
    Ello was the LGBT+ communities answer and the reason is because they won’t sell you things, everything you post doesn’t return with ads for your family to see if you’re not out, the platform is just developing so LGBT+ organizatiosn have a way to make the platform develop in a way that is safer for miniorities to use. I’m the CEO of Trans* YOuth Channel and we cater to this cokmmunity and i can honestly say that Ello is developing to be one of the best social media experiences, and platforms with which we can build a community that i or my organization has EVER seen.
    Ello is just getting started with a ton of features that take time to be written. so create an account, upload your avie, and let it grow. Its okay to check back in a few months when thing sare more full featured. and its okay if you don’t have friends from get get-go. When its ready for you to use it in the capacities you want to use, i have no doubt you’ll be coming back to a very wonderful and freeing experience, freemium or not.

  28. Thanks Mark
    I never heard of this before. Hope my request for an invite will get approved. Any sense of how this community will sustain itself? I like the concept.

  29. Hi! Is this guide up to date? I created am Ello profile when the site went online but I never really got to use it. Now I’m thinking about giving it an honest go. Regards from Denmark! 🙂

  30. Jan, I have not kept it up to date, sorry. Since Ello has not taken off it’s been hard to justify the time and resources it would take to update this every time they change.

  31. Hi Lars, I really did intend to update it, but as you say, Ello never really took off, and other things took priority. I’d still like to make updating it a weekend project some time, but it will be a lot of work as a lot of things have changed.
    As for Ello itself, I actually believed the founders that it was never their aim to “replace Facebook.” I can see when I stop in that there is still a vibrant and happy community there. Not every social network needs to be Facebook!

  32. Is Ello still an invite only site? I signed up for an account and they sent all the info to my gmail account. I downloaded an avatar and got a user name and password. But now when I go to the log in page it takes me directly to the Ello site, without logging in, and the sign out section on the top right side of the page is grayed out and doesn’t drop down to sign out.
    What am I doing wrong?
    I need help, I don’t know how to use this.
    Barb Lodermeier

  33. I can’t agree more. It has never really kicked in, here in Denmark, even though it’s a really good service/network. Especially for creative people, as you will find a lot of art, travel pictures and that kind of stuff. If inspiration are needed…

  34. Can’t wait to try Ello. Seems like it is starting to kick in. Anyhow, great post. I really like reading your blog. Much of inspiration. Thanks again.

Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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