There are two inspirations that led me to my product idea.
First of all, I believe that social media is way too centralized. Only a few people at the top control the flow of information, which leads to every site becoming more or less a hivemind. I think that everyone should be able to find their niche online.
Secondly, there are a number of web widgets out there (e.g. Disqus and vBulletin) that offer social-media like functionality to websites. However, each one only really serves a single purpose and it's hard to turn your website into a full social media experience with just these tools.
What it does
UniWeb is a whole suite of widgets that can create an almost completely decentralized social network. Examples of possible widgets include:
- Comment sections
- User bios
- Video sharing
- Utilities for moderators to control content and for users to contact moderators
The responsibility of managing content on each site will fall on the site owners and moderators. This means that every site can be personalized and all UniWeb users can find their niche. Hosts can chose which widgets to add and who has moderator permissions. Each Uniweb-integrated site can become it's own miniature social network.
How will Uniweb "fix the internet"?
Decentralization is key. The point of UniWeb is to create a social network governed entirely by its users. Only UniWeb hosts can manipulate what users see, not a small body of admins. What this will hopefully lead to is less groupthink, less censorship and less corporate astroturfing.
How I built it
With Next.js, a React framework that makes building websites incredibly simple.
Challenges I ran into
I basically had no webdev experience. Before the hackathon I could make an okay-looking static website. This hackathon forced me to learn the ropes of responsive UI using React.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Learning the tools to the point where I could create a decent-looking site. While I only scratched the surface of frontend webdev during this hackathon I still made a lot of progress and I plan to continue gathering essential web design knowledge.
What I learned
How to work under a tight schedule. How to prioritize certain tasks over others. How to network and market myself.
What's next for UniWeb
For me, the purpose of this hackathon was more to grow my skills rather to develop a real product. However, I believe the idea for UniWeb is a good one and I'd like to develop it further when I have the time.