With Threads, Bluesky, Cohost, Hive, Mastodon, and a seemingly new platform popping up every week, you might wonder why I’m choosing to build my own platform. I’ve been asked this question a few times now, and I thought it would be easier if I made a post about it. The simple answer? Because I wanted to.
But there’s more to it than that. In today’s world, it seems easy to build a new platform, given the frequency with which it’s done. Now we can even use low/no code apps like Bubble.io to create an Instagram clone or copy code on Github. There are countless tutorials, code repositories, and options available. However, that’s just the start of building something truly meaningful.
Building Boredable has shown me that the journey goes far beyond the core functionality of just creating a post and listing everything. Moderation, privacy tools, the ability to follow, block, and mute users, filtering and ranking posts, news feeds, speed optimizations, and more demand careful consideration - the list of features and functionality is almost never-ending.
We can criticize other platforms on the best way we think it should work, but without understanding how everything connects together, it’s hard to know the best way a social media platform should be run. It’s easy to look at a button that lets users report something, but what happens after that? Is the content of the post placed in front of a real person to review? Or is the entire thing automated and deleted after a certain threshold?
Or, what happens when you mute someone? How do you make sure their content doesn’t resurface on your news feed? Should someone else’s repost of a muted user still appear? Why or why not? What about blocking someone? Should you still be able to view their profile? Should the blocked user know they’re blocked?
Another important thing I to consider - what are some dark UX patterns, and when can and should they be avoided? Do we really need an infinite scrolling feed? What’s wrong with having a load more button? On one hand, having things load for you is great and feels faster. But you can easily get lost doomscrolling for hours. Do I really need to get lost in that experience?
As a developer, my best way of learning is by building and recreating something. I aim to thoroughly understand the reasoning behind each functionality. If it aligns with my beliefs, I’ll implement a similar approach, but if it doesn’t, I’ll build it in a way that does. And whatever comes out of that is Boredable.
One of my primary motivations is to build the platform I want to use myself. I want Boredable to have an easy-to-use API that anyone can create with and build upon. At the same time, the app should also be accessible enough for even my Mom to use. I also want Boredable as a company to be structured somewhat differently than typical platforms. Instead of a typical startup route, I want to build Boredable as a non-profit organization and eventual fully open-source platform. The focus shouldn’t be on making money, but rather on providing a self-sustaining space that isn’t completely reliant on advertisers or selling data.
I don’t have any pretense that I know what makes a social media platform truly successful, but I’m resolute in my desire not to rely on platforms run by the Mark Zuckerbergs or Elon Musks of the world any longer. My vision is for something that prioritizes user experience, privacy, and transparency.
Do I think Boredable will be successful? Maybe. Most likely probably not. But the lessons I learn in building this platform, I want to be able to take elsewhere. I want to use this experience to help improve the next great step in social media, wherever or whatever that might be. And that’s why I’m building Boredable.