There was a time when Orkut was the only premier social networking website on the Internet. But soon after came about Facebook and changed the whole social network scenario. Thus, Orkut was shut down after a decade of service.
But the founder of the very first web social network, Orkut Büyükkökten hasn’t been sitting idle and whiling his time away. He is back and is trying another hand at social networking with his new passion project called ‘Hello’.
Hello.com, is a social network that connect you with people and content based upon your passions. Büyükkökten adds that Hello is a more friendlier version of a social network in this online ecosystem of hatred and trolling. Talking about the inspiration and ideology behind Hello, he further adds,
Hello is the first social network built on loves, not likes. hello makes it easy for you to connect with people who share your passions. I want hello to be a community where everyone feels welcomed and included and no one feels judged.
Hello can be described as a successor or an extension of his original social network, Orkut. Based on the concept of passion — the only thing that you genuinely care about in the real world — there is no place for fear or hatred when making a simple friendly gesture on his new social network. And Büyükkökten is also of the belief that once we start following our true passions and exploring our authentic selves, then we can head on a road to self-love(man, that’s deep!)
Let’s jump in and take a look at the new concept of social networking that ‘Hello’ boasts to be. When you open the app to sign up, you don’t need to provide any external data. It just needs access to your contact list to find your friends, who will be pretty much non-existent in the beginning. You are then served with the option to choose five ‘personas’ you’re interested in, for example photographer, actor, journalism, foodie, geek, parent, skier, traveler, etc. You can think these passion ‘personas’ to be synonymous to communities.
Now, you’re all signed up and ready to explore the main interface and key features of the application. You’re greeted with a Facebook-esque News Feed which shows you content posted by other members who share your passions. You also have the option to personalize and customize this feed, by swapping out one passion for another.
Hello has also been designed as a game with the promise of rewards or ‘karma points’ based on the number of posts/comments you make or like, number of gifts you’ve sent and number of consecutive days you spend on the app. You start out at Level 1(as expected), but the game goes upto Level 40 and you’re awarded with more gifts and coins each time you level up.
Sharing content on Hello is a bit complex as it lays focus on visual content and doesn’t allow the creation of text-based posts. It is very much alike Snapchat or Instagram when talking about sharing content on the platform. You are provided with a set of tools which allow you to modify the background, add text, and even add filters to the image. You also have to assign one of the personas to the content that you’re about to post.
But unlike the aforementioned platforms, video posting is currently not supported by Hello. We can, however, expect to see the same in the near future.
Hello is now live on both iOS and Android, with a possible web version in the works. But, it seems that user reception towards the app isn’t that great as it currently has a measly 2.7 rating on the Google Play Store. Some users have also rebuked the interface and quality of app development, as it is actually quite buggy and crashes at every single sign-up step. Still at beta stage, these bugs and crashes are expected to be fixed very soon. Also, the app is currently available to download in select countries, and India isn’t one of them.
Based out of San Francisco, Hello has a team of 20 working on the social network, including a “small group of ex-Google employees.”