Howdy! My name is Tim Smith, and I'm building Bokeh. Bokeh will be a social network to share photos with friends and family privately.
Social networks have been a fantastic tool to share the moments of our life and keep in touch with family and friends who live far away, but they've also let us down. Most social networks mine our data to sell us eerily accurate advertisements; these ads are so precise, some are convinced their phone is listening to them. Algorithms are used to try and guess what you want to see instead of showing you everything in chronological order. And as countless news stories have reported on, these networks have inconsistent, poorly implemented, and at times arbitrary policies on harassment, racism, sexism, and other hate speech.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t even gotten into how negligence on the part of these social networks has contributed to the spreading of misinformation, how their apps are designed and engineered to keep you on their platforms, or their focus on meaningless likes and follower counts.
I want to do things differently.
Bokeh will be ad-free, have a chronological timeline, and will be private by default. That means that all accounts will start off as private. Public accounts will have an RSS feed, will have the option to cross-post to other social networks, and will support custom domains. All accounts will have an indie web compatible export so you can self-host if you want to.
People won’t be able to find you by name, but will instead need to know your username to find you. Bokeh will never display publicly who follows you or who you follow. If someone has requested to follow you 3 times and you’ve declined, the app will prompt you to block them. In other words, these are your pictures and I want you to have precise control over who sees them.
Being on a social network comes at a cost. That cost can either be foggy and opaque, or transparent and straightforward. Most of us don't know the data these companies have about us, nor who they share that data with.
In contrast, Bokeh will never share or sell user data to advertisers because our business model depends on creating and keeping customer trust. We don't answer to advertisers or venture capitalists. We answer to you.
Bokeh will have individual and family accounts. Individual accounts will cost $3/month or $30/year, and family accounts will cost $5/month or $50/year. You’ll be able to add up to 5 people to a family account, including the account admin. By backing this project now, you’ll get a discount and allow me to pay for the initial development.
I care about privacy, but I don’t think it’s enough to just say that. That belief is built into the core of how this business will make money.
I believe that your data shouldn't be mined to sell you targeted ads, that your timeline should be chronological and not based on some algorithm, that tech CEOs shouldn't allow hate groups to flourish on their platforms, and that we need more social networks that are privacy-focused and ethically sustained.
I hope you'll back this project if you agree.
Risks and challenges
Sure, building the technology to create this will be a risk and challenge, but I think the biggest challenge will be designing Bokeh for real life. As we've seen, most social networks were built without any care or attention to the real world consequences of technological decisions. Creating a platform that doesn't contribute to misinformation and is intolerant to harassment and hate speech, is of vital importance to me. I will make sure to have a diverse group of people test the app so that many different perspectives are taken into account as we design and build.
I don't have a large audience, so there's also the possibility that this project doesn't meet its funding goal and I'm not able to make Bokeh a reality. Unfortunately, I don't have the development skill to create Bokeh by myself which is why I'm using Kickstarter to raise funds.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)