Bokeh To Challenge Instagram

After Instagram

Do you wish for a better version of Instagram, not owned and operated by Facebook? Your wish may come true. A year ago, the Kickstarter project for Bokeh was fully funded. Development started, and though it’s taken longer than planned, there’s solid progress. I’m still intrigued by the potential of Bokeh. An official launch date hasn’t been announced, yet I’m eager to check it out!

Worthy Endeavor

The principles of Bokeh are promising:

  • Ad-free! Funded by the people and for the people.
  • Private! By default, your photos and info are yours; they’re never for sale.
  • Chronological! You and your friends’ photos in chrono order.
  • Anti-algorithm! See all photos, not just the ones some code thinks you should see.

Aren’t these ideas attractive? Yes, and not only that, the interface looks very nice. Go here for screen-shots!

Social Media needs to be removed or improved.

So I’m glad to see someone bold enough to undertake a project like Bokeh. Tim Smith, the creator, believes in this and took a risk. How moved to action must one be to take on the juggernaut Instagram?

Hear from Bokeh creator Tim Smith:

Bokeh is no half-hearted endeavor.

Bokeh is ambitious and aspirational; it’s got a hill to climb. I backed the Kickstarted project, and I’ll be glad to help Bokeh have a chance at success. I plan to use the Android app for it as soon as possible.

The Bigger Picture

Even if the app and service don’t reach the 1 billion mark, it could have a positive influence on Social Media. The idea that a social network should be a paid service, rather than free with ads, is not new. But it hasn’t caught on. At least not yet.

If nothing else, I hope Bokeh will inspire a trend of paid – ad-free – social networks. Why? So you and I can choose a more private network that does not sell us out to advertisers, investors, or shareholders.

Why else? Because Social Media is broken, which means it needs to be fixed or replaced. One way to try repairing it is through an ad-free subscription model.

Here’s another tangential question: must Instagram fail in order for Bokeh to succeed? Answer: No.

You see, it is unlikely that all the celebrities, influencers, and brands on Insta will flock to Bokeh. They’ve worked too long and hard to build their following to move away. And you know what? That’s OK! It could be just what Social Media really needs.

Bokeh has the prospect to become a the social network where you connect privately with your friends and family – that’s it!

  • No celebs
  • No brands
  • No influencers
  • No ads
  • No sponsored posts
  • No politics

You and I could interact only with those we know and trust. We could have a Timeline Feed that’s full of actual status updates! And the only “ads” would be genuine word-of-mouth posts from people we know and trust.

That’s the promise. That’s the potential.

Good Path Forward

Do you remember Path? It was a social network with a better focus on photos than Facebook. I wish it had succeeded. It aimed to eliminate the problem of you having too many friends on Facebook. The worthy goal of Path was to foster connecting with your closest friends and family – your small inner circle.

But Path took the ad-supported path; it led to a dead-end.

Bokeh does not have to be this way. It can succeed where Path failed. There’s precedent too. Other social networks came after Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and found success. Have you heard of Snapchat or TikTok?

I’ve been reading a book about the story behind Instagram called, No Filter, by Sarah Frier. It details the unique circumstances that caused Instagram to grow popular fast. Likewise, it’s possible that our culture is at an inflection point, primed for a new network like Bokeh.

When Bokeh launches, you need to sign-up for it right away. Why? Because if you are one of the first people to show up, you will get to claim your user name before it’s taken by someone else!

Check back here on Jason Journals as the launch of Bokeh approaches.

Are you willing to give Bokeh a try? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Three Hundred And Counting


I enjoy blogging for some weird reason, and I’m happy to report reaching a mile-marker along the journey: 300 followers!

More And Merrier

Let’s pretend none of my 300 followers are bots or foreign hackers – that’s a legit number! It’s over half-way to half a grand! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but what if..? What if I could someday reach 1,000 followers? Why would that huge of a number be a worthy goal?

I’ll tell you why. It’s not because I would suddenly find fame and fortune. Nope, not that. It’s because I like writing and blogging my thoughts. I like sharing or conversing with folks online. I like authenticity. And if I have more readers, then I have more reasons to write even more! Having a huge audience would give me more incentive and encouragement to enjoy what I do – write/blog.

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Friendly Folk

Let’s put 300 followers in perspective. One year ago, I hit 100 followers. So I gained 200 in the past 365 days. And this is where I’m coming from. I’ve never had that big of a number anywhere. My Twitter follower count is small, my Facebook friend list is less, and you name it: Instagram, Flickr, Google+ back in the day… I’ve never had a number even close to 300.

Don’t worry. It’s not making my head swell. I figure half are bots and many are likely mercy follows or follow-for-a-follow types. Whatever. Also, I know that quality trumps quantity. It’s better to have a few close buddies online than a million ambiguous whoevers.

In my blogging time, I’ve met a few very friendly folks and connected on some level more than superficial. I value their time, attention, and dialogue. A good discussion with one person is greater than 100 follow-backs. Comments are nice!

So…raise a glass…here’s to more. More blogging, more followers. And greater friends.

Have a milestone you’d like to share? Don’t hold back! Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

First Days Of Facebook

Liking Facebook

So…last week I re-friended Facebook. I’ve been back on for a few days now. And – surprise – I have some thoughts. Mostly good. [Like.]

Commenting On Facebook

Being off Facebook for six months was a long break. In Facebook’s absence, my web-social time was spent on Twitter and WordPress. So now there’s good competition for my time. More on that later.

I restarted my new Facebook account from scratch. That part is nice, having a squeaky clean fresh Newsfeed and Timeline. The app is now on my phone, and I sent out many Friend Requests and filled out my basic profile info – the metadata of me.

It’s great to be connected again to all my friends and family so I can see what they’re up to, how they’re doing, and easily share with them. It’s especially nice to stay in touch with the many people I know who live far away.

I rejoined just in time to catch some birthdays, and I caught up on a lot of good photos I had missed out on this past Summer! I also became an active member of a Group I had been absent from. So there are a lot of cool, fun, or useful things on Facebook that I’m enjoying.

Also, in 30 days or so, Facebook Marketplace will open up. To avoid scamming, the Marketplace is designed to wait a month before allowing new Facebook users access to it. That’s smart. And this is one reason why I like it. The people you buy or sell with are connected and vetted to some degree, which helps make the process safer. I have not used Craigslist in years!

In my short time being one of the billions of people on the social network, I was reminded of a few downsides to it. These are not surprising, but I’m going to need to work on them. The first one was mentioned above: time.

Facebook, like all social media, is designed to take up your time and attention. It can be addicting. I’ve received a ton of red notification numbers and banners on my phone and on the web browser. Granted, this is higher than usual activity since my account is new again. Once the honeymoon phase wears off, things will quiet down a bit. But I will likely need to adjust settings and moderate my behavior so I don’t get distracted by what can feel like the party on Facebook.

The other thing I will be proactive about is the Newsfeed. That thing is still a cacophony of posts! So many memes, posters, and silly pix and vidz! Facebook made it so you can friend yet not follow. In other words, you can connect with others to see their Timeline, Message them, or join a Group with them, but you don’t have to see their posts in your Newsfeed. This helps keep a good signal-to-noise ratio. Oh, and I’ll try to not contribute too much noise myself.

Checking Facebook

Overall, I’m enjoying my fresh friend-and-family-feed one week in! My goal is to be active but not too active. And when the shine grows dull, I’ll take a break if I need to – without deleting! For a time, I can be inactive yet not deactivate.

Let’s call this Social Media Moderation. Or Social Network/life Balance.

And I’ll leave you with a quote:

“…even if you don’t want to actively use Facebook, it’s one of those services that you basically have to sign up for. Like email.” – M.G. Siegler

That, I think, is more or less a truism these days. Facebook, like email, is a social utility. For better or worse. I’ll focus on the better!

Where do you stand on Facebook? Love to hate it? Hate to love it? Can’t live with or without it? Share below, or drop me a line here! Thanks for reading!

The Social Pressure Is Getting To Me

Socially Compelled

Alright, I’ve got a bit of a confession. After deleting my Facebook account almost 6 months ago, I started feeling drawn to rejoin. Perish the thought! I’ve already admitted to the cycle I have, like bouncing back and forth in an unhealthy relationship. So I think I need an intervention. Will the cycle ever end?

The Network Effect Of Everyone

I have not rejoined the world’s largest social network. Yet. I’m resisting the pull. But I can’t help wonder why this urge returned. It’s a little perplexing yet not surprising. Just, why?

I have good reasons to not be on Facebook. And I think some of them apply to everybody. But though I can articulate them in writing, as I did here, I find it harder to tell someone face to face why I’m against Facebook or why it’s so off-putting and should be avoided by all.

I feel like capitulating. Like, everyone is on Facebook. Not only that, there are some bonafide good uses of the platform simply because everyone you know is there. I’m talking about Groups and Pages and Marketplace. The network effect is real.

These three examples of Facebook’s utility are not unique. Elsewhere, the internet offers similar options that provide the same features. But honestly, I don’t know of any that are better or easier to use. And even if they are, they lack the greatest feature: everyone.

Even though everyone is on the web and therefore can connect, those connections are separated across various websites. So connecting requires juggling multiple accounts and log-ins (unless, of course, they provide the Facebook log-in). The point is, different websites that offer different Facebook-like utilities are separate. But Facebook easily connects everyone on the web in one central place.

The One Place To Rule Them All

Like an existential rule, it seems that there had to be that place: the one website online where all people could unite, connect, and network together (ironically, that union has also surfaced and reinforced much division). Social interaction defines humanity; relationships! Other websites (Friendster, MySpace, and more) were built on this fundamental trait. It’s just that Facebook was able to take off. Right place, right time I guess.

If the internet is a connected web of everyone spread across earth, then like a modern day digital Tower of Babel, Facebook is the defacto site for everyone online to come together, for better and for worse.

The network effect is what compels me to rejoin Facebook. Practically all my friends, family, and acquaintances are there. (Just this week, a co-worker asked me if I’m on Facebook – that never happens – what a coincidence!) And though I’ve lived totally without a Facebook account several times, the truth is I’m unable to escape it altogether. Like pumpkin spice in Autumn, Facebook is everywhere.

It’s in my house. My wife’s use of the social network remains stalwart. Through her, I am informed of daily life stuff via Facebook. Also, I see how it benefits her. And honestly, I don’t see much consequential detriment to her personal usage of Facebook (other than the negative drama that gets posted sometimes). As for sucking a lot of time, I can’t talk. I use Twitter as much as my wife uses Facebook. Guilty!

By nuking my Facebook account from orbit, have I cut off my nose to spite my face? Other questions have come to me: am I “too good” for Facebook? And is my personal boycott of the platform benefiting others or advancing a good cause? Am I just being a Facebook-hater? These are good questions that deserve good answers.

Sharing Online

Here’s a situation that affects my decision to rejoin Facebook or not. I have a vacation coming up with both immediate and extended family members. We’ll be taking a lot of pictures! Naturally, after the trip, we’ll want to share those photos with each other. So where will that happen? There are several good options, but the easiest and practically the best place to do that is on Facebook.

Another scenario that makes Facebook compelling is that I have a family member who lives overseas and is active on Facebook. We seldom email each other, so Facebook is the strongest way we can stay connected with text updates and photos. This is hard to resist sometimes.

Socially Awkward

There’s more weirdness. Since I have deleted and rejoined four times, what will my friends and family think if I rejoin again? Will they be glad to see me there? And will others keep me at a distance, expecting my cycle to spin around to deleting again? These questions spawn a meta-query: why am I wrestling with such social anxiety? It’s just a website! Right?

So what will come of this? Despite the pull to rejoin Facebook, I’m not totally comfortable with the idea of being tallied in the census of the world’s biggest digital country that is controlled by one idealistic man who is also trying to create a new global currency. The size and power of Facebook and its influence are disturbing, and the Libra initiative is foreboding. I’m wary of the whole thing.

But Facebook is, frustratingly, like a utility because of its network effect. I think my back and forth tug-of-war will continue. Maybe it will be a stalemate. Is resistance futile? Is rejoining and reestablishing a love-hate relationship with Facebook inevitable?

Resist or rejoin? I don’t know. I’m leaning toward the latter.

What are your thoughts? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Footloose And Facebook-Free

Today is the day that my Facebook account info is permanently deleted. This ends my fourth and shortest round of Facebooking. And, dare I say, it is my final round. No more Zuckerberg productions for me.

I’m Done With That

I finally deleted my Facebook account back in April – 30 days ago. So I got the standard message informing me it would take that long to remove all traces of my digital existence from the social network. Except, of course, for my shadow profile. Right?

Actually, it would not surprise me if Facebook archived my stuff and did not truly delete it. Who knows what really happens? I can’t say I trust Facebook after more than a decade of privacy violations and such.

So how’s it been since I quit? Well, it’s not like I quit cold turkey. I had disengaged considerably since last December. By the time I nuked my Facebook account from orbit, I was pretty much over it. In the last 30 days, I have not missed Facebook one bit.

I really think I’m off Facebook for good and forever. And it really seems like that’s finally become more of a general trend. There a media reports every week against Facebook.

Divide And Conquer

One huge and excellent opinion piece was recently in the New York Times, written by Chris Hughes. It’s an authoritative summary of Facebook’s flaws and faults. And it’s an imperative call to change the way fractured Facebook is managed because of its ill-effects on our society and democracy.

In other words, there’s been so much smoke about Facebook, there must be a real fire there; it’s not a false alarm.

I still think Facebook is far too big and influential – powerful – to be under the total control of one idealistic person, who happens to be Mark Zuckerberg at the moment.

Do I think Facebook should be broken up? Yep, I do. If nothing else, I think Whatsapp and Instagram should be separated out and be on their own as they once were. But I admit that I don’t know what the best solution is to “fixing Facebook.”

The trouble is, I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg knows the solution either. And while it may be less than ideal to call on the US government to solve the social network, it seems to be the next best step at this point.

Too many seasons and scandals have passed under Zuckerberg’s watch; there must be a better watch. And it must be a group of people, not one person with majority shares.

Time will tell what happens. Facebook might limp on for a while. Either way, I’m running fine without it! We all can!

I like the way Kermit sang this wisdom,

Movin’ right along in search of good times and good news, With good friends you can’t lose.

Forget Facebook. We can have good times and good news without the Newsfeed. We have good friends we can’t lose even when we delete Facebook.

I say,

Movin’ right along, footloose and Facebook-free!

Are you going to delete Facebook? Why or why not? Comment below or message me. Nice to hear from you! Thanks for reading.