Bokeh To Challenge 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.