Andrey Ovcharov

Professional Software Engineer and hobbyist Hardware enthusiast

Andrey Ovcharov

From Social Network User to Creator: My Journey to Building My Own Instagram (and Twitter)

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook and Instagram, to say the least. When they first started, they were a great way to bring social interactions online, but now it feels like they’ve become a feeding ground for marketers who are just trying to make a profit. It’s really frustrating because any content you post on these networks is basically lost. People outside of the social networks can’t see it, and even inside the networks it’s hard to get any visibility because of the algorithms they use. I’ve experimented with this a few times and I’ve found that usually only about 20-30 people, usually my friends, will see a photo on Instagram or a post on Facebook. And search engines don’t even index the content. If you want more visibility, you really have to work for it. And on top of all that, these social networks don’t have any problem making money off of ads shown with your content. On the other hand, I have a blog post from 2013 that still gets readers to this day. It’s just a little frustrating, you know?

It’s not just the lack of visibility that’s frustrating about these social networks. It’s also the way that they constantly change their algorithms and rules to try and force users to pay for more exposure. It’s like they’re saying “Hey, we’ll give you a little bit of visibility for free, but if you want more, you’ve got to pay up.” And even if you do pay, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the results you want. It’s all just a big gamble.

But here’s the thing: even if you do manage to get some decent visibility on these social networks, it’s not the same as having a presence on the open web. With a blog or a website, you have complete control over your content and how it’s presented. You’re not at the mercy of some algorithm that might decide to show your content to only a fraction of your followers. And if someone finds your content through a search engine, they’re more likely to stick around and explore more of what you have to offer.

So, in my opinion, the time and energy that people put into these social networks would be better spent building a strong presence on the open web. It might take a little bit more work upfront, but in the long run, it will be worth it. You’ll have a platform that you control and that can really make a difference in the world. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

At the same time, I really love to publicly play around with graphics and words. The idea of creating a simple service for this has been on my mind for a long time. I’ve tried a few ready-made services and open-source options, but none of them worked out for various reasons. Unfriendly interfaces, the need for hosting, a lack of control over my own content - there was always something wrong. And programming is my profession, so I know I could create something neat and tailored to my needs. The only thing that stopped me until now was the laziness to write a convenient app for the phone. And uploading pictures through the browser was extremely awkward.

The solution, as usual, was found by accident and turned out to be extremely simple. A bot for Telegram. In one evening, I cobbled together the most elementary bot using ready-made libraries that can accept images and store them in a database. On the second evening, I made a web interface from already finished components, and on the third evening, I connected everything to a database and launched it into the wild.

So now, in just a few clicks, I can upload any picture and get a public link to it to share with anyone. In general, it’s very simple but functional replacement of Instagram and Twitter, allowing me to have complete control over my content. Exactly what I needed. And I’m sure someone else will find it useful too.

You can visit the website at to see for yourself. Give it a try and let me know what you think!