Product Development May 28, 2020

How would you build a social app without a feed?

Charles Watson @sircharleswatson

If you were building an app that is meant to be social, but couldn't use a feed, what would you do instead?

Are there any viable alternatives?

  1. 1

    One way is to have just one public feed. Not sure if it meets your requirements, but it is much cheaper to run because there's no custom feed per user that you have to maintain.
    Technically this becomes like a forum where everyone see everyone else's content.
    You can personalize this experience a little using notifications (like user X posted a comment to your post), but the content would still remain the same for everyone.

  2. 1

    Grids.

    Every "friend" or whatever you're going to call them appears as an individual entity on a grid and when they do something that "block" updates.

    hell... I know I mean lol

    1. 1

      this is interesting for sure. Sort of reminds me of how Stories works. Idk how well that would work in my case though haha

    2. 1

      Innovative, but would sure be hell-ish haha

  3. 1

    Been thinking about a similar thing too, but I guess I like the feed model better. I can't think of any other alternative as of now!

    1. 1

      Ya, it's really hard to think of what the alternative could be 😅

  4. 1

    Why can you not use a feed?

    1. 1

      Theoretically, I can do anything haha.

      I was planning on using Stream but I'm worried about costs because I'm not making much revenue at the moment.

      So I was trying to get creative and find other ways to present information but still have people engage socially. 😁

  5. 1

    Interesting problem. What is the challenge that you are trying to avoid for now? Is the message fan-out bothering you?
    If is the case, then you can build a product around the public feed, which will far simpler to implement. Twitter was started with a public only feed.

    1. 1

      I was planning on using Stream but I'm worried about costs because I'm not making much revenue at the moment.

      So I was trying to get creative and find other ways to present information but still have people engage socially. 😁

      1. 1

        Stream sounds pretty good deal to me. I was thinking about more of a Kinesis + Lamda stuff.

        I guess the Stream free plan is good enough to start with, unless you have large number of active users. If you have that kind of traction right now, you might consider raising a fund in next 6 months and scale things up.

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          My app has doubled its userbase from 15k to 30k since february so I have a feeling I'm going to quickly outgrow the free plan for Stream. Which basically means I need to hurry up and build value in other places so that people will upgrade haha.

  6. 1

    TikTok SnapChat counts?

    1. 1

      TikTok is definitely a feed. :) I don't use SnapChat at all so not sure there haha

  7. 1

    Might depend on how you define "feed." If we define "feed" as a constantly updating flow of individual user posts, then there are possibilities. Then again, remember Chat Roulette? Was that a feed?

    I've seen a couple of apps in development, like HouseParty (and from what it sounds Clubhouse) that are about time-boxed, ephemeral shared experiences. It still has the potential for exponential growth due to users inviting each other, but user posts aren't a thing. Just user-hosted experiences or events.

    1. 1

      I'm thinking of "feed" in sort of the traditional sense (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc). Like an infinitely scrolling list of user activities.

  8. 1

    I loved this from Kevin Rose a few years back: https://techcrunch.com/2014/09/12/tiiny/

    Kinda still a feed, but I like the idea of the main interface being a grid of tiny photos.

    1. 1

      Ya, that is an interesting one. I've been trying to think of an alternative but I can't think of any examples 😅

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        I guess the "Stories" format is not a feed. Also audio networks like the much hyped Clubhouse