6 questions that Ello or any other indie social network should test against

& what our forthcoming indie social app scores

Ello has arrived with lot of thunder, and its really a joy that a cool, indie alternative to Facebook is proposed again. Earlier attempts, like Diaspora while succeeding in providing the required software did not quite live up to hopes and promises of widespread use (for a variety of reasons, which we will discuss in a separate post).

Ello is becoming the talk of the global town, providing much needed visibility to all efforts aiming to provide private, ad free, non data mined services and applications, like we at Momentum do. But at the very same time some early criticism was raised, pointing shortcomings that might be crucial to the success of Ello, in terms of really fulfilling the promises it is making in its manifesto.

Of particular relevance to Momentum are the 6 questions that @mikemorgenstern has pointed out at Ello Isn’t Going to Work: 6 Things It Doesn’t Address”.

These 6 questions could be seen as a benchmark for any indie social network currently being built out there.

So we attempted to benchmark our own project, Momentum, currently under development against these questions. We at Momentum, are a tiny team of developers and designers developing an indie application which enables you to:

Share, Cherish and Preserve your truly important moments, photos, videos and documents within your chosen circles of friends. Privately: no ads, no changing terms and conditions, your friends are your cloud!

You can register for the public alpha now, coming over the next couple of months. So how does Momentum scores, over these questions:


Privacy: We have designed and are implementing the Momentum App with the aim that only you define what is shared. The information on who you share with or what you share is completely private. There will be no defaults, and we will have no way to know what you share.

Personal branding: The “moment stream” in Momentum will be all about YOU. No ads, but also no need for you to present a constructed self to hundreds of “friends”, a large and largely irrelevant audience.

We are implementing Momentum in order to be able to be Yourself, and not a persona dictated by a data mining, ad subsidized free service, with an incentive to drive you to a sharing frenzy.

Distraction from real life. Here is one of the most difficult issues. How to build a service that is used whenever you want, not when the ad supported, data mined application pattern wants you to. We have mentioned our approach extensively here (video) and as a Medium post here

What we need is human centric Application Patterns

We are designing around this and have some ideas that we would like you to test, and share your thoughts during our public alpha.

Commodification: will commercial profiles or streams be visible in Momentum? Well, while anyone could have a Momentum profile, including a commercial venture, we are building Momentum for People not advertisers or “brands”. UX and architectural details will not drive people to follow or consume content generated by strangers or “brands”. If you would like to find details just ask us!

Your friggin data: with Momentum only you will own your data and your data will be visible only to the people you choose and you trust. That simple.

Control of your life: only you will be in control, and possession of your life moments. And again these life moments will be available only to the people you trust.

We at Momentum wont store anything to our servers, we are building an Application not a Cloud.

Your life and your data will be your responsibility. We are only providing the (powerful and fun) tools!


Thus regarding the initial question of @mikemorgenstern at “Ello Isn’t Going to Work: 6 Things It Doesn’t Address” we believe that for Momentum we have made sound design choices, allowing us to answer positively to all these questions. As we state at our site

Moments are transferred and stored directly among devices and friends. Peer to Peer. No servers in the middle. Your friends are the Cloud.

This scales well with the application pattern we want to offer.

A pattern that its not based on public sharing, or on a proprietary Cloud platform but on private trusting of precious and important moments of your life. Moments that define you and that you want to preserve in the long term.

Visit the website and signup to be part of the public alpha, and help us spread Momentum!

Regarding Ello we hope they will succeed as a public, ad-free, no data mining platform, with a viable user supported business model, where users will be the customers and not the product of the service.

Further reading:

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Momentum IM’s story.