How to Use Jelly, A Buzzy New App That Gives You Advice on the Go

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
January 14, 2014

Jelly, a new app backed by a sparkly clump of celebrities (including Jack Dorsey, Al Gore and … Bono) is having its 15 minutes of fame. Since its launch last week, the crowd-sourced service has gained a boatload of Twitter followers, broken (mundane) news and earned the participation of Silicon Valley overlord Mark Zuckerberg, who used it to determine the breed of a terrifying spider in his shower. 

The app is meant to act as a mobile social network in which you snap a photo of something and ask a related question. People from, or somewhat connected to, your social networks will answer. It’s definitely not a new concept! But it is a very pretty one backed by famous people. Here’s a quick guide on how to use it:

1. Download the Jelly app for iOS or Android.

2. Open the app, and it will automatically bring you to a camera screen. Choose what you’d like to take a picture of (it should relate somewhat to your question) and tap the circular button below. You can also upload a photo from your photo library or from Google Images by clicking on the scenery icon on the lower-left side of the screen.

3. When you’ve taken a satisfactory photo, select the “Use” button on the upper-right corner.

4. Ask your question. I’m sort of bored with the coffee they have in the office, so I’m going to see if there are better places nearby to buy a cup. You have the option to attach a link using the paper-clip icon and/or to draw on your photo using the marker icon.

5. Click “Send” in the upper-right corner. Your question, along with your photo, will then be posted in the Jelly feed.

6. You can check on the progress of your question by clicking on the profile icon on the upper-left side of the screen. 

7. There you’ll see a feed-like list of things you’ve done — the questions you’ve asked, those you’ve answered, the responses you’ve received, and the “thank-you cards” you’ve been awarded for answering other people’s questions.

6. Tap on the question you want to check up on. It should populate with responses from Jelly users you are connected to through either Facebook or Twitter. Below the person’s answer, you’ll be able to see exactly who offered the advice and how you know her. You can then choose to thank her for the help and/or share the Jelly post elsewhere on the Internet. As you can imagine, easy and clear questions tend to be answered more often than fuzzy, conceptual ones.

8. And there you have it! If you want to pay it forward, you can return to the home screen by clicking the profile icon at the top right again. Flip through the questions you don’t want to answer by swiping each tile down. If you think you can help, click Answer. 


As you have probably guessed, Jelly’s success depends on a lot of things. One is whether you can trust the people who are answering your questions (believe it or not, the Internet isn’t totally reliable). Another is that the questions on Jelly are currently all over the place.

There’s no denying, however, that Jelly is zippy and well-oiled and has been expertly marketed thus far. It’ll be interesting to see the weird and wild things it can accomplish.

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