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January 13, 2014 / carlispina

Trying Out Jelly To Ask And Answer Questions

JellyLast week, one of Twitter’s co-founders launched a new app called Jelly. Focused on asking and answering questions, this app lets you take pictures, which are then shared with any other Jelly users who are in your network. For purposes of the app, your network includes any one you follow on a social network that you have connected to the app (the current options are Facebook and Twitter) or any of their followers.

Asking questions is a straightforward process. When you open the app for the first time, you will be prompted to connect it to Facebook and/or Twitter to create your “network.” Once you have done so, you will see questions that others have asked front and center on your screen, with a link to your account in the upper left corner and a camera icon in the upper right corner. Clicking on the camera icon lets you take a picture and then type your question about the picture. Images can be annotated by drawing on your screen and you can add a link to the text of your question as well. You can also select an image from your device’s photo library or from your Google Images. Once you are happy with your image and question, you can send the question, which will share it with every Jelly user in your network.

The other side of the app is, of course, answering questions. You can do that with a single click. In the process of answering, you can share a link or annotate the image that was shared. Questions can also be forwarded outside the network via SMS or email or can be saved to your device’s clipboard.

As of right now, the biggest limitations of Jelly are the fact that it has a small user base, meaning that your questions are not shared with a very wide audience and the fact that it is not clear how it differentiates itself from other social networks, at least in my opinion. You can just as easily ask questions on Twitter, Facebook or one of your other social networks where you likely already have a larger network. While it is true that Jelly shares your questions beyond the immediate group of people you follow, this also means that you have less control over your content. To that point, Jelly is also very new and therefore is missing some options that users may want. For example, according to the company’s FAQ, you cannot delete questions you share, you cannot block users (though you can report inappropriate content), you cannot disconnect social networks from the app once you have enabled them and you cannot deactivate your account. And, while answers can be shared on Twitter and Facebook, questions cannot, making it difficult to get your question out to your wider audience on other networks. However, having said that, Jelly seems to be a well thought out app with a nice design. If the network expands and additional features are added in the future, I could see it taking off. I could also see libraries using it to either answer questions from those who follow them online or to start conversations about books or events.

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