Social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram thrive off of ad revenue. To maximize profits via this method, these platforms work to maximize the time a typical user spends on their respective apps the best they can. There exists a litany of holes in the human psyche that these companies have thus learned to abuse.
Here are a few examples:
- Notifications are weaponized to frequently pull a user back into the platform. Push notifications inject themselves into whatever a user may have been doing to distract them and pull them back into the app.
- Every unique time another user engages with a user's post, said user is also notified to produce an addictive hit of dopamine to the brain.
- Applications attempt to keep the content bottomless. This is simply one less reason for a user to leave the app.
- Posts display the number of engagements and profiles display friends/followers to create social competition between users to grow their interaction counts, thus growing usage on the platform.
- Snapchat uses "snapstreaks" to encourage users to log back into the app daily.
What it does
Tiber refrains from these predatory practices to create a healthier service for the users. Here are some examples of what we do differently:
- Likes and follower counts are not publicly displayed to eliminate social pressure for platform success.
- Time spent on the platform is tracked for users so they can be conscious of it.
- Users are not notified of every individual engagement with their content.
How we built it
Developing an entire platform ourselves would have been too ambitious for one weekend, thus we piggy-backed off of Twitter. Our app allows users to log in with their twitter accounts, and our app thus allows them to operate on twitter nearly as if they normally would.
The app was developed using the Android development environment. The backend was made with python. We used flask and tweepy to manage the server and interface with Twitter, respectively.
Challenges we ran into
Having to learn how to work with Android studio.
Lack of adequate documentation for APIs.
Communicating between the front end and back end.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The entire app. It was something that none of us have really done before, thus there was a lot of struggling with the various APIs.
What we learned
How useful web APIs can be when used properly.
What's next for tiber
Most likely nothing, but we are proud of the product. If the response is positive, we are very open to building tiber into a polished product independent of Twitter.