Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1.

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1 is in stores now and features work by me and an amazing assembly of creators—Maria Frölich, Conley Lyons, Craig Yeung, Marco D’Alfonso, Andrew Aydin, and Joanna Estep. I’m humbled to have been a part of that crew, to have worked within the world that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro have created, and to have learned so much from editor Lauren Sankovitch. (One of the things I learned is that lettering is very hard, so kudos to Clayton Cowles for an amazing lettering job—a task that is often overlooked.) I’d also like to thank Christopher Calloway of Creator Talks for chatting with us about the book. The same goes for Rachael Krishna of Buzzfeed and David Brothers at Image+.

“Living racism is a horrifying experience. And then, having to normalize it and internalize it. Sexism or homophobia, all that shit is the same shit. It’s an everyday thing, and it’s so common, and that’s hard to really put your head around. And you having to stomach it in order to keep your job, or to get further in life. You’re having to compromise, and if you don’t, you’re a nuisance. And there’s a paranoia, ’cause you’re like, This is fuckin’ …am I going crazy? Is that person…Daniel Kaluuya

Here’s where it gets sappy. Because a handful of the people who I’ve listed above believed in me more than I believed in myself. Probably still do. Sat patiently with me and quietly and firmly countered the voice in my head that emphatically exclaimed that my lack of opportunity was because I wasn’t good enough. Not the twice as good that we’re often told we must be, not the baseline of adequacy needed for that first rung.

“I’m certainly not going to lie and say it’s not difficult—because it is difficult. Because as much as you want to be inspiring and delve deep into those power fantasies, the reality of discrimination is there tugging away at that thread to unravel any tapestry you weave. What does discrimination do? It curtails your actions. It robs you of your agency. It makes you second-guess your ability.”Cheryl Lynn Eaton

“You can do this.”Kelly Sue DeConnick

My brain translated that last quote to “You’re not crazy.” And, dear God, did I need to hear that more than anything. I needed someone willing to acknowledge that those obstacles exist, but also confirm that I could surmount them—that my words were of value. And I found those someones in the team at Milkfed. And I thank them for taking a chance on me. (And letting me cross a major item off that bucket list!)


Fear of a Bitch Planet.

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1I usually hate to double dip in regards to posts, but this news is too good not to share on the blog! First and foremost, solicitations for Image’s June slate of books have dropped and yours truly will have a short featured in Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1! Massive shout out to my partner-in-crime and collaborator Maria Frölich as well as the entire Bitch Planet team from creative to editorial. I’m honored to be in same league as y’all, as fleeting as the moment for that might be!

Want to know more? Of course you do! So I advise you mosey on down to Image’s website and preorder a copy of Image+ #12 to find out more about it. The magazine not only contains interviews with the Bitch Planet: Triple Feature gang, but also a Walking Dead short for you zombie lovers, and an expose on Marc Silvestri (my favorite ol’ school Image artist). The homie David Brothers brings you the best in independent comics month after month. Don’t sleep.


A Haute Mess: Finding your style guru.

It’s time for me to follow the fashion advice I’ve been dutifully doling out during this blog series. And it’s good advice! I’ve done a majority of the grunt work involved in spearheading the makeover I so desperately need. I’ve taken inventory of my clothes and I’ve asked my friends what they think of my current style. Most importantly, I’ve thought about the image I want to project to the world and am now in the process of identifying which style gurus can help bring me in line with said image.

Jennifer AnistonIn my last blog post I emphasized the importance of finding a style statement. I’ve discovered that my own statement is effortless elegance. To put it simply, I want to look good and I don’t want to have to put in a lot of work to do so. The life of a corseted and contoured Instagram baddie isn’t for me. So what is? Well, let’s take a look at my new style gurus, shall we?

Jennifer Aniston: I bet y’all didn’t expect to find a white chick here! I absolutely adore the simple silhouettes a classic beauty like Aniston depends on. It seems as though the actress spends 75 percent of her life in t-shirts and jeans and the other 25 percent in a sleek sheath. And that is the exact fashion goal I have for myself. Aniston’s wardrobe is one made up of dependable classics—white button down shirt, black tank, etc.—that make any and every woman look wonderful.

Renee Elise GoldsberryRenee Elise Goldsberry: I’ve been sweating this woman’s style for a good decade now, so please don’t assume I’m a Hamilton groupie! I love the fact that Goldsberry is able to achieve a look that is so blatantly hyperfeminine with such ease—especially in a society that strives to bar black women from achieving the label of feminine in the first place. You won’t find caked-on makeup or frilly dresses with an exorbitant amount of ruffles. While Goldsberry does enjoy patterns far more than Aniston, the lines are still clean and simple. Goldsberry is very much a natural and elegant beauty.

Toni BraxtonToni Braxton: There have been many many times when Miss Toni arrived on the scene looking like a fashion nightmare in an outfit that was far too tight or too short. I still love her though. One, because I am also guilty of owning a few XS shirts that I should have bought in an M or maybe even an L. Two, because no matter what she is wearing, Toni Braxton always looks dainty. That has been her one true constant through drastically changing styles and weight fluctuations. I’d chalk it up to Toni’s diminutive height, but I’m also absurdly short and haven’t managed to achieve the same. I’ll keep watching the siren to see if I can learn her secret.

Kerry WashingtonKerry Washington: If Toni Braxton always looks dainty, Kerry Washington always looks classy. The woman could walk into a black-tie event in ripped jeans and still be the best dressed person in the room. She has a much wider style range than I could ever hope to achieve, easily swinging from sultry to sweet at a moment’s notice. Never in my life have I been sultry, but her prim and fresh-faced looks speak to me a great deal.

So I have my style gurus! The next step is to take an honest look at my closet and my beauty routine and see if their styles mesh with my own. I know what you’re thinking. Can you possibly ape the style of a woman with a budget so far beyond your own? 

Stay tuned.


A Haute Mess: Style and substance.

When the world is falling apart you might as well look your best. After all, you never know when a television crew will want a “man on the street” opinion about our ensuing apocalypse. You never know if the love of your life will be waiting around the corner, or at a protest, or tying up the line at Target. So be ready. And if you aren’t ready? Fake it until you make it. To reiterate, always look your best. And please note the emphasis on the word your.

Who am I? Trends come and go, but style is personal. And it is personal because it is tied into your personality. If you feel that you are in a fashion rut the first order of business is to grab a pen, a sheet of paper, and few friends and family members. Why? Because you’re going to need some information on your favorite subject. You.

Ask those closest to you how they would describe you. Make sure to set aside comments about your appearance. Instead zero in on what is said about your temperament and body language. The answers here are key. Are you considered brusque and demanding? Shy and prim? Bawdy and sensual? Consider if the adjectives listed by your loved ones match those you’d give to yourself.

What image am I projecting to the world? Remember all those comments about your appearance that I told you to set aside? Go and get them. You’ll need to mull over those observations in order to gauge whether the way you look is in conflict with the way you act. And should that be the case, it likely explains the style rut that you are in or the inability to feel comfortable in your own skin.

However, please remember that we don’t have full control over the images we project. Issues regarding race, weight, gender, and wealth do have an impact on how the world sees us. That is why it is so important to receive feedback from loved ones rather than fashion magazines or style gurus. You must hear from those who know you and can accurately ascertain the story you are telling with your clothes rather than listen to a stranger who would use bigotry to evaluate your story via your weight or the color of your skin or the shape of your body.

What image do I want to project to the world? This is the fun part. My darlings, it is time for you to create a mood board. Now you can hit up the fashion magazines and style gurus. Open up Pinterest (or Tumblr, or a scrapbook) and start saving images of styles you’d love to take as your own. We are purely in the realm of fantasy here so don’t limit yourself. Yes, go on and throw a photo of Beyoncé in there. And while you’re pulling images together give yourself a style statement as well. What is the look you’re going for? I told a friend that my fashion goal for 2017 was Afro-futuristic Clair Huxtable. Find your own style statement and make sure the images you select reflect it.

Is the image I wish to project who I am? It’s time for a reality check after all that fantasizing. If everyone you know has described you as shy and retiring and your mood board is chock full of half-naked photos of Instagram baddies you’re going to have a problem. That’s not who you are. Make a note that you’d like to emphasize your sensuality and go back to the drawing board with the comments of your loved ones in mind. Start pruning. Eliminate looks you’d never feel comfortable wearing. Add those that bridge the gap between the person you are and who you’d like to be.

Yes, that’s a lot of homework I’ve just given you all! But the end result, mastering that “glo up challenge,” is worth all that hard work in the end.


A Haute Mess: Battling body image.

I spent thirty seconds wondering if a garter snake was loose in my bathroom this morning and was amused to find out that the hissing noise was actually the sound of my thighs rubbing together in my “new” yoga pants.

There’s a point to this odd story. I purchased three pair of Russell athletic pants at a closeout sale for $5.00 dollars each over a year ago. (Yes, I am the bargain queen.) They’d been sitting in my closet, neatly folded and unworn, for months. Until yesterday. The last pair of threadbare Hanes sweatpants I own—my daily uniform—have paint all over them and I can no longer wear them out of the house. (I actually did wear them to go pick up more paint at Home Depot, but I’ve developed a healthy sense of shame since then.) And so, I had to do something I hadn’t done in a long time.

I had to wear the clothes in my closet.My "shame" drawer

You see, I normally wear clothes from what is essentially a “shame drawer” filled with cheap clothes I regret purchasing and shapeless items I bought in the hopes that they would render me invisible. The contents are as follows

  • 4 blouses likely made of a highly flammable synthetic material
  • 2 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of paint-covered sweatpants
  • 2 thermal Henley tops
  • 3 t-shirts

I hate everything in the drawer. It is truly the hell to my closet’s heaven. So why does it exist? When I dig deep to answer that question I am horrified by the answer. I don’t deserve nice things. It’s the only explanation I have for why I pass by a closet filled with clothes carefully curated for a stylish woman only to pull on a pair of old sweatpants every day. It’s the only explanation I have for why I consistently buy clothes for a woman who isn’t me. Because I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I bought those yoga pants months ago? They didn’t fit. And when I finally wore them yesterday? I felt anxious for about a good twenty minutes. I felt like a fraud—and probably would have sobbed like a cornered criminal had one of the trophy wives occasionally dotting the landscape commented on my outfit.

So what should you take away from this fairly strange story about my fashion fumbles?

You deserve nice things. Please be aware that I am not cosigning you buying that dress that you know damn well is beyond your budget. What I want to impress upon you is that no matter your size, shade, height, body shape, or income level, you have a good body. And that good body should have stylish and comfortable clothes that fit.

Every day is an event. Look, you’re alive, fam. You’re breathing. That good body got you out of bed this morning. Celebrate it. Every single day. Those jeans that make your butt look incredible? Why have you only worn them twice in the past twelve months? Why should you only feel like a million dollars on date night when you can feel that way standing in line at the grocery store? Life is hard, b. Squeeze every moment of joy out of it you can.

Fashion should never be a punishment. The absolute worst advice I ever heard was a man tell a woman who was unhappy with her weight that she should throw out all of her clothes and buy new clothes in a size six in order to motivate herself to lose weight. Listen, your weight is going to fluctuate. Do not throw out your “fat” clothes! Do not throw out your “skinny” clothes! Keep all the clothes you love and wear them when they fit. There’s only one Oprah. The rest of us can’t afford the financial burden of buying new wardrobes every time we gain or lose ten pounds. And we can’t afford the emotional burden of looking at a closet full of beautiful clothes that don’t fit us. It is damaging to one’s self-esteem. And that damage remains even if the weight is lost. If you can’t rifle through your wardrobe and find three outfits that fit, look good on you, and make you feel good right now? Go shopping.

Wait, I don’t mean right now! After all, we’re about organization and proper planning in 2017. Every mission needs a mission statement. Next up we’ll talk about whether the man or woman you want to be is the one that’s hanging in your closet. And what to do about it if he or she isn’t.


A haute mess of a wardrobe.

ClosetOn December 31 I cleaned out my bedroom closet and made a list of what I needed to complete a basic wardrobe. It wasn’t a difficult task since I am already frighteningly organized. I ordered a few items and the rest I’ll find over the next couple of months at consignment shops. My relatives frequently remark that it’s odd that I have a closet full of clothes and yet wear the same thing every day. And it is. When I worked in an office I wore a turtleneck every single day—the same exact style and brand, five different colors. The situation has gotten worse as turtlenecks and slacks have been replaced by t-shirts and sweatpants. However, this ends now. Or roughly two weeks from now giving shipping timeframes.

In the past I used fashion (or a lack thereof) as a punishment for my weight. This is an absurd and harmful stance to take and if you have the notion in your head that you don’t deserve nice things because of an arbitrary number please seek counseling and the location of your nearest Macy’s immediately.

I am kidding about the Macy’s unless they are having a really good sale.

The fact of the matter is that when I’m anxious I eat and when I’m sad I hike. And I have hiked myself to the point where my anxiety uniforms—Hanes sweatpants and long-sleeved t-shirts—do not fit. I need to wear clothes that (1) fit and (2) do not look threadbare and worn. Dress better to feel better. That motto applies to all.

ClosetThankfully, I have a nearly complete wardrobe hanging in my closet from the first go-round of my “sad hikes” period. And said wardrobe is the reason for this post and the occasional fashion posts that will follow over the course of the year. Building an entire wardrobe from scratch is a ridiculously expensive undertaking—for everyone but me. See, I am the bargain whisperer.

After the cut I make a list of what I believe constitutes a basic wardrobe. (Granted, this list has been tailored to my own personal needs and tastes.) In later posts we’ll discuss what I’ve spent (certainly not much) and where to get the best deals. I’m no fashionista—I have a full-length leopard-print robe that’d look just right on Peggy Bundy—but I can tell you where to go to get what’s best for you and make sure you don’t overspend once you get there.

Let’s take a look at the list! Continue reading A haute mess of a wardrobe.


The critic and the comics industry.

The comics industry is amazing and awful at once. Because of glaring issues with bigotry and harassment—issues found in every entertainment industry—we tend to focus on the infamous and incorrigible. And the quality work of the meeker amongst us goes unappreciated.

My own journal leans heavily on work from the mainstream. Comics from Marvel and DC provide a common thread I share with my peers. I also focus on Marvel and DC because they are the largest platforms in the industry. The inequality found there has a much larger negative impact on various social groups than an independent publisher running with the assistance of a skeleton crew. And while there is importance and value in the “make your own” argument, it is also vital that our major institutions—including mainstream entertainment companies—are held responsible for the current state of the industry. We cannot root out institutionalized bigotry without critiquing our oldest and most powerful institutions.

Yet we must not simply focus on the negative. Positive reinforcement works—for animals, for humans, and for corporations! So I want to use this journal to spotlight works that move me. And not just works of art, but marketing strategies as well.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, so what I find pleasing will not please everyone. But it is just as important to share what is good with the world as it is to warn folks away from what is bad.


Site subscriptions are here!

Cheryl Lynn EatonThe photo of baby me that you see here has nothing to do with this post. However, my friend Joanne recently found it and it amuses me greatly. Also, I miss having braids! That said, let’s get down to business. Site business. As you can see, some cosmetic updates have been made around here. A lovely RSS feed is now available by clicking the link at the bottom of the sidebar. Also found in the sidebar? An entry form to subscribe to this blog! Yes, you will never again have to wonder if I’ve posted because new journal entries will be delivered directly to your email inbox.

And there’s more site business to get down to! You can also subscribe to my newsletter as well. An entry form can be found in the sidebar of the Fiction subsite. Newsletters simply contain brief information about convention appearances and upcoming work. Industry analysis and pop-culture musings can still be found right here.


Wisdom and earth.

A lot can happen in a month!

First and foremost is that I and artist Maria Frölich will have a short story appearing in an upcoming issue of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s and Val De Landro’s Bitch Planet. I’m honored to have been allowed to contribute to the amazing world that Kelly Sue and Val have created, to work with an artist of Maria’s caliber, and to learn from an editor as skilled as Lauren Sankovitch. All opportunities are a gift, but this one came at an exceptionally trying time in my life and gave me a bit of hope in a year where happy moments have been few and far between.

2016 has made the world of Bitch Planet more ominous than satirical—a world that could easily enter into our reality via the randomness of an election or a major catastrophe (or perhaps one in the same). I am a massive fan of fictional dystopian futures and equally a fan of making sure they never come to fruition!

With the publication of this story I find myself in a small, but powerful and growing league of black women writers in comics. And I could not be more pleased about it. Black women have always been here and have always been creating. What is new is the recognition—the realization that to have an organization where images of black female bodies are a source of income but black women are not invited to speak is parasitic and harmful. That realization, and the reaching back of a small handful of white women and black men who have secured a foothold in the industry, has finally resulted in a space for black women to write in the mainstream. However, it is important to note that black women created their own lucrative space outside of the mainstream long before we had become a consideration to those we championed as they pushed through glass ceilings. As I’ve said, we’ve been here.

And now we’re there. With the addition of powerful writers such as Roxane Gay, Vita Ayala, and Yona Harvey at DC and Marvel, black women are no longer voiceless in the mainstream. Flesh-and-blood black women are receiving compensation for their creativity. There is now reciprocity at these companies—black women are consumers, black female characters are profitable commodities, and black women are highly sought (and fairly paid) artistic laborers. I cannot support companies that take from black communities—black women—and give nothing in return. Thankfully, I no longer have to count Marvel and DC among said companies. And while it’s frustrating that we had to wait until 2009 and 2016 for that to come about, the fact that it has come about should be positively noted. And I hope we do not once again see a regression for nearly a decade should these women decide to return to their original creative mediums.

We are together, but unequal. While I am absolutely elated to have women such as Roxane Gay in this industry and in the mainstream it is very important to note that their presence is a clear example of “twice as good for half as much.” For only black writers must reach the pinnacle of fame in other creative industries in order to be deemed acceptable to pen a mid-list mainstream comic book. A white man or woman? Well, he or she would merely need to have written an independent comic that an editor took a liking to in order to receive an invitation to pitch. The doors are now open to everyone, but only black people have a very long and winding staircase they must climb in order to reach them. It’s okay though, we’re used to having to be twice as good to get in, only now we’re going to be damn sure to remind you of it once we get there.

As for me? I’m going to work on stepping my game up to reach that elusive 200 percent! Sadly, I can’t talk about my next step now—God, I’ve become one of those people—but poke me about it in a few months!


I rock rough and stuff with my Powerpuff.

powerpuff

Sorry, no insightful posts today, just a bit of brilliant marketing from Cartoon Network that has given everyone the ability to “Powerpuff” themselves. Try it yourself!


How does it feel?

That’s a snazzier title for a blog post than “Untitled.”

Times have been hard. Excruciatingly hard. Do-not-want-to-get-out-of-bed-in-the-morning hard. But I keep getting out of bed in the morning, every morning, until the day that I don’t.

I am very tired. And now that my birthday has just passed, I am also very old.

Tiffany Pollard

The above meme has strangely become my life’s motto. Sadly, I’m not as aggressive as New York—the television personality or the place of my birth—but I got up this morning, and the morning before that. I paid a couple of bills. I had some tea.

Okay, I had lots of tea.

All my clothes fit again. Chunks of weight have fallen by the wayside as parts of my life have been stripped from me—love, home, career. I have muscles in places that were soft before, sinew sparking to life with each box hauled and each hill climbed. I hike a lot, in the hopes that I can somehow walk my way out of my troubles. Truthfully, I’m probably asking for it given my penchant for routes that I assume black people don’t take often—given how often the police take an interest in me.

Tiny, and yet apparently very dangerous.

I wave cheerfully to everyone I encounter to avoid becoming the next Twitter hashtag. Silly, because not one of those souls was extinguished due to a lack of amiableness. And doing so distracts me from the crunch of pine cones beneath my feet and the magical way sunlight filters through the leaves. If only I could figure out a way to walk forever, a part of nature and yet apart from it.

I get up earlier as my workouts get longer—15 minutes, 30, 45, 60, an hour and 15.

I am of a mind to read Walden again, this time in earnest as an instruction manual of sorts and not hastily flipped through for a school assignment. I’m at a point where I’m required to start life over but would rather retire from it entirely. I reflect on white faces in articles, men and women who have walked away from Wall Street and onto farms and into artisanal [insert object here] franchises and wonder if I can do the same. Is it feasible for a woman in a much lower tax bracket? Is it feasible for a woman walking through life alone?

I don’t hear kind words often. I hear harsh ones frequently. But I’m here.

Until I find someplace else to be.


What’s in a name?

Kevin Zawacki’s recent article on Internet identity has fascinated me and has also forced me to take a closer look at my own online behavior. As the Internet has grown more personal and less mysterious, more people have taken to using their own name as their personal online handle. And yet I cling to Digital Femme as if a comfortable pair of shoes.

Why? Truthfully my last name is dull and fairly common. I’ve finally grown to enjoy my first name, Cheryl Lynn, no longer ditching the country compound in an attempt to appear sophisticated. Friends call me Cher though—because humans are lazy. And I answer to that name because Cher makes me think of Clueless and the ‘70s—and both of those things delight me. (Though I must admit I get a thrill from hearing strangers get my real name right and use it properly. Bonus points for Southern accents too!)

As for the Digital Femme handle, I’m not completely certain why I chose it. I knew I wanted people to be aware that I was a woman in geek circles. (Yet given the rate at which women within geek circles are harassed by men, that was probably an unwise decision.) I also wanted a handle that was my own since previously I had gone by the names of my favorite comic book characters—brands owned by large conglomerates.

And so DigitalFemme.com, hastily chosen because DigitalGirl.com was not available, was born. And I love it.

But I’m not the only Digital Femme! I share the online handle with the phenomenal Carmen Villadar. I’ve almost grown to view her as a digital sister of sorts, to the point where I will take the handle digital_femme on a social networking site, leaving digitalfemme for her if it is available. I also joke that we should fight crime together under the Digital Femme banner given the geek world’s propensity for interracial female crime-fighting duos.

It is amusing to me how digital_femme has supplanted my real name to the point where I grow irritated when the handle has been taken by another. Recently I opened an Origin account only to find that the digital_femme handle had been assumed. I was furious. How dare someone use my name?

But it is not my name, is it? But why would someone want to use a handle so strongly linked to two existing women? For example, the Digital_Femme account on Disqus belongs to neither me nor Carmen and is fairly recent. I’m intrigued!

Are you a Digital Femme? Hit me up.


So long.

2014 was a terrible year—the lancing of a boil. Resentment and hatred and unchecked societal ills ran rampant, the literal bloody mess of it pooling at the world’s feet, demanding to be acknowledged. And shockingly, it has been acknowledged—through protests and art and music and film. This generation is going to make the world a better place—starting with 2015. Hyperbole or not, I wholeheartedly believe it. My hope for 2015, for this generation and this world, is more. More love, more success, more respect, and more joy.

My personal goal for 2015 is less. In years past I’ve proclaimed that with the new calendar year I’d “get out there.” I would be more sociable. I would engage the world more. For 2015 that has changed. My focus is on reflection and peace, solitude and silence. I don’t expect to gain supreme enlightenment, merely a life that is quiet and simple. To be fair, my life is already pretty quiet and simple, but there are still areas where I can improve!

Happy New Year!


NYCC ya!

When I’d heard that four-day passes to New York City Comic Con had sold out, I scrambled to purchase whatever tickets remained available. Unfortunately, the only tickets remaining were passes to Thursday’s show. Reluctantly, I decided to plunk down forty dollars for a ticket. After all, a chance to attend one day would be better than missing the show entirely.

Or would it? To be honest, New York City Comic Con has largely been a terrible experience. The commute from New Jersey to New York is expensive, time-consuming, and unpleasant. My time during the show is spent alone, for friends are required to work to cover exorbitant table and traveling costs. Nearby food is stale and overpriced. I am on my feet for the entire day, sans any hotel room to rest or freshen up. I am unable to socialize for long after the show—friends are often corralled into meetings or dragged to office parties by employers and I am unable to stay late due to a need to catch the last train back to New Jersey.

Do I want to spend ninety dollars, eighty minutes commuting each way, and seven hours on my feet to talk to twelve people I adore for six minutes each? I ask myself this each time I purchase a ticket to this convention. Previously, the answer was always yes. This time? It’s no.

I’m going to cut my losses, raise a glass to the NYCC showrunners for smartly separating me from a couple of my Jacksons, and spend tomorrow catching up on Sleepy Hollow. See you at the next ComfyCon! (Someone should really get that up and running again.)


‘Ello there!

We are all aware of Ello, yes?

Slowly my Twitter list has been making its way to the new social media outlet. Having opened an account last night, I’ve spent the better part of the morning poking through the accounts of friends, amusedly observing their interests and acquaintances. It’s nice to see Ello reinforce my belief that I’ve surrounded myself with a number of smart and sweet people.

But what of the site that contains said people? Compared to its competitors (Facebook and Google Plus), Ello appears unfinished. I’d like to see features such as verification, customization, and a stringent policy regarding harassment added. In fact, the lack of customization—the ability to alter my profile page to match my main website—has kept me from utilizing Facebook and Google Plus, and has soured me considerably on Twitter. If I can’t have my pink and purple? Well, I just don’t want to be there.

However, I’ve given Ello considerably more leeway simply because it contains the people I like. (This is also why I continue to cling to Twitter.) Ello is Facebook or Google Plus sans the conservative bent and microaggressions that are often found on the two more mainstream social media sites. Ello is new and experimental—which means there is little obligation to interact with every distant relative and former coworker or classmate. Communication is limited to those with whom one has something in common. Connections are fostered through respect and interest rather than rote recognition.

I am extremely cautious on Twitter (to be fair, I don’t trust many), limiting my interactions to those with an interest in talking to me (rather than the motive of wishing to use me as a resource). My Twitter list is miniscule, and guided by the answer to one simple question: would I invite this person to a dinner party in my home?

Yet Ello is clearly reminiscent of Facebook rather than Twitter, and allows for less personal connections. It is the public soirée to Twitter’s private discussions over cocktails. I’ve wrestled with the decision as to whether or not to interact with new people on Ello and have yet to make a commitment regarding how I will use the site. However, I am leaning towards being more open—sociable. After all, is that not what social media is for?